The Old Direction of Heaven

Jennifer Rose

This title is OUT OF PRINT.

Meditations on time, memory, and love, these poems are firmly grounded in particular landscapes and gain their power through Rose’s brilliant control of the sentence and her feeling for the apt metaphor.




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In quatrains, sonnets, tercets and blank verse, Jennifer Rose’s subject is how we live in community—with others and with ourselves. One theme that underpins this book is Rose’s search for meaning in a world haunted by war, especially World War II…. Hers is a poetics of social engagement and fierce attention to the nuances of human grief, loss, and love.

—Robin Becker

This is a powerful voice. [Many] poems have that sense of urgency, import, authenticity, that is real poetry—which is whatever has to be said, but said, so that we can bear it, in a formality, in a certainty, and in a song.

—Mary Oliver, 1999 T. S. Eliot judge




At Dachau with a German Lover
Cologne’s Cathedral
Britons Leaving France
The Italian Rose Garden
Mostar Postcard
Letter from Orahovica
Lipik Postcard
Even Here
Lines Written during an Autumn Invasion
First Frost in the Suburbs
Saratoga Journal Entries
The Kiss
Sonnet to a Married Man
Home after Three Weeks Away
On Losing the Sense of Smell
Eastham Sonnets
A Morning Walk
Catechizing the Dandelion
At Mount St. Francis
Diaspora: Eden
Letter from Paradise
Midnight Swim


About the Author

About the Artist


Jennifer Rose was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1959 and has lived in Massachusetts since 1971. She has been a “Discovery”/ The Nation winner and is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund, and the Poetry Society of America, among others. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Nation, Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. This collection was a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. She works as a city planner specializing in downtown revitalization.

About the Artist
Edna Amit (Lilly Bobasch) was born on October 20, 1927, in Czechoslovakia. She was deported to Terezin on June 26, 1942. On October 4, 1944, she was deported from Terezin to Auschwitz. From there she was transferred to Freiberg and then to the concentration camp in Mauthausen, from which she was liberated in May 1945. She now lives in Israel, where she is retired from a career as a teacher of handicrafts. Her painting is part of a collection of children’s drawings from Terezin preserved in the Jewish Museum in Prague.


In these poems, [Rose has] “technical command, inventive articulation of metaphor, and quiet humor.”

—Scott Ruescher,

Although Rose is a prodigious rhymer, often packing her end-rhymed lines with internal rhymes on the same sounds, it is her concentrated, urgent metaphors and similes that most define her poetics.... Rose is at her best when personal and public concerns coincide, when the urgency of her imagery is matched by emotional urgency.

The Antioch Review

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