We are beyond overdue for a poetry recommendation in Rabbit Reads. Wading through the abundance of poetry out there can be intimidating, but we’re here to help! Read on to find out more about a beautiful new poetry collection from Colorado author John Blase called The Jubilee.
Why We Love It: Exploring poetry beyond the familiar classics you read in high school can be a daunting task. It’s a notoriously small and obscure literary niche, and some would say nobody reads it anymore. But if you spend enough time on social media, you might discover the world has more poets than you think.
Exciting, sure. But it’s a lot to wade through.
Which brings me John Blase, because I’m pretty sure I found his work on Twitter. I don’t remember how I started following him. (Was it the recommendation of other authors I like? A random retweet rabbit trail? Who knows!) All I know is his earthy writing and keen observation speak my poetic love languages. You could start by exploring the poetry he’s published on his blog, or you could dive right into his first book-length collection The Jubilee.
John Blase (pronounced “Blaze,” like a flash of fire) has pulled together a diverse collection of 50 poems for his 50th birthday, and what a collection it is. There are poems addressing the big ideas, like faith and doubt, and rooted poems about the simple, transcendent beauty of ordinary things. Paper receipts become “pages from our book of living.” Sharing instant coffee is an act of honor between father and son. An autumn leaf pressed in a book marks a tender moment between husband and wife.
There are poems about aging—the author’s and his parents’—and poems that evoke wide spaces and natural wonder. There are psalms and parables, and meditations on dying and, yes, living. All of them finely tuned with wisdom, gentle grace, and a touch of humor in all the right places.
If you’re looking for a place to start, here are a couple I enjoyed: Actually, Scratch That and As We Drove Back Home (slightly revised versions of these two appear in the book). There are many poems to explore on his website, but I recommend jumping in and ordering his book for a beautifully curated collection of the best.
You can order The Jubilee from Amazon here and check out John Blaze’s website here.
Jen Rose Yokel is a poet, freelance writer, and spiritual director. Her words have appeared at She Reads Truth, CCM Magazine, and other publications, and she released her first poetry collection Ruins & Kingdoms in 2015. Originally from Central Florida, she now makes her home in Fall River, Massachusetts with her husband Chris, where you can find her enjoying used bookstores and good coffee.