Approaching the Gate: Poems (Paperback)
Winner of the 2015 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award for Poetry
Lynette Reini-Grandell's long-anticipated debut collection of poetry quickens with forward movement, be it in a car that pushes towards the stars--or with a horse that suddenly spooks, leaving the speaker "knocked down, / breathless, / turning to the sight of a thousand-pound horse / rushing the gate / and leaping over my head." Several of the poems probe the experience of her grandparents who emigrated from Finland and settled on a farm in northern Minnesota in the early twentieth century. The urge to move forward is matched with a deep love and reverence for creatures living in their natural world, for the buzz of the city, for unmet ancestors and kindred spirits, and most especially for her transgender husband.
Approaching the Gate
Peel back the feathers, peel back the fur.
The pale, protective skin--peel that away too.
Pull apart anything that covers,
scrape away whatever doesn't fit.
Let light stream in at the speed of blood,
slice past cornea, sclera, iris, retina.
Anything to fell the green-leaved past
and pave a roadway,
anything to get to the inside,
anything to plow this ground under.
Lynette Reini-Grandell's poetry has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Finlandia Foundation. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is part of an art installation in room 5D of the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan. In Minneapolis, she reads regularly with the Bosso Poetry Company, a subsidiary of Bosso Enterprises, theoretically based in Big Lever, Wyoming.
About the Author
Lynette Reini-Grandell has published her work in Ache, Evergreen Chronicles, Poetry Motel, and on MNArtists.org. Her poem "Radio Girls" appears in the anthology It's Animal but Merciful and was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. She is the recipient of a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board grant for poetry, a 2010 What Light Poetry award winner, received a 2009 Intermedia Arts Writer-to-Writer Mentorship, won the 2003 SASE/Ache prize for fiction, and edited Rifle Sport Alternative Art Gallery's only literary journal, Magazine. Her poetry is on the walls of the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan, in an installation created with her husband Venus, a transgender artist and musician. A feature-length documentary about their relationship, "Venus of Mars," by Emily Goldberg, has toured film festivals around the world. More information about the documentary can be found at venusofmars.com. She has performed poetry and fiction at countless spoken word venues, among them Intermedia Arts, Patrick's Cabaret, Kieran's, the Turf Club, the Poetry Cafe (London), Cacophony Chorus, the Love Ugly, Ricochet Kitchen, Soul Invictus (Phoenix), El-Chango (Bisbee), and the Minnesota State Fair. She appears regularly with the Bosso Poetry Company and is on J. Otis Powell's CD, Theology: Love and Revolution. When not reading, she accompanies other writers and burlesque performers on jazz violin. She co-hosts "Write on Radio," on KFAI (kfai.org), a radio show interviewing local and national writers about their work. Lynette Reini-Grandell holds a B.A. from Carleton College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation is titled "The Modern Sound: American Poetry and the Rise of the Recording Industry, 1920-1940." She is an English professor at Normandale Community College, sings in a church choir, and has been variously vice president, president, past president of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English. "Approaching the Gate" is her first poetry publication.