Rouse pens 2nd poetry chapbook

What started as a series of poems created in a private, online workshop has transitioned into a new book by Cornell College Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Jen Rouse.

Book Cover of Jen Rouse's chapbook called "Riding with Anne Sexton"
Book cover

The book is called “Riding with Anne Sexton,” and the works focus on Sexton herself, a poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for her work in 1967. 

“This chapbook is an unflinching portrait of one grappling with mental illness,” Rouse said. “The persona uses the conceit of a journey with Anne Sexton–a poet who committed suicide at age 45–as a way to examine the darkest and, perhaps, most tragic voices in the persona’s head. In an absence of connection and care, the confessional voice of the pieces here expresses the constant struggle of the persona trying to end her suffering, even in the face of great beauty and hope, while capturing what it’s like to remain trapped in this cycle of pain, longing, and loss.”

Here’s a portion of “Loyal” in Rouse’s book:

Please, trace this shooting star
of sadness across my brain—
let me know all the whorls
of your fingertips, let the touch
of you bring me back. Or let me
go. Please let me go.

Rouse says her favorite part about her new compilation of poetry in this chapbook is its brutal and beautiful honesty. She hopes these poems and complex ideas linger in readers’ minds. 

Jen Rouse
Cornell College Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Jen Rouse

“Sometimes our heroes and muses don’t always live up to our expectations, but we must always live up to our own,” Rouse said. “This book lives up to my expectations of capturing the intimate workings of the brain of an artist.”

The book is currently available for pre-order with a release scheduled for later in August.

Rouse’s first chapbook “Acid and Tender” came out in December of 2016.