‘Acid and Tender’: Rouse writes book of poetry

If you are looking for a new book to read, you could try one by an author right here at Cornell College. 

Jen Rouse, the Interim Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Cole Library on the Cornell College campus, recently finished a book of poetry called “Acid and Tender,” which came out on Dec. 15.

“To fully get inside this collection is to realize that acid has a kind of beauty in its sharpness, and tenderness comes from a pure place of having been a warrior,” Rouse said. “The two are inextricably linked.”

Rouse said many of her poems stem from connections she felt with the art of Frida Kahlo, whose show she saw at the Detroit Institute of Art. Rouse said both create works from open, personal places.

“The book is filled with impactful poems about women’s choices made as artists, mothers, daughters, friends, and lovers,” Rouse said. “We are woven together, intimately bound in our beauty and our power by our stories.”

Jen Rouse
Jen Rouse

One of the pieces in the book is called “Love’s Anathomy,” which gets at the heart of what it means to create. The final lines of the poem are: “Tell me again the story of why we are here. Tell me again the story of hummingbirds and thorns.” 

“If one person comes to my work and finds solace there or inspiration or a moment of hope, then I have given just a little bit back to the universe—as so many wonderful artists have given those moments to me,” Rouse said.

The book will be available for purchase at a reading at the Cornell Center for the Literary Arts on Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. It is also available for purchase online.

Rouse is also working on a new book called “Riding with Anne Sexton.”