Brittany Noakes Poetry Award, Finalist: Julia Blumenreich

Julia B4th grade teacher, Julia Blumenreich, a recipient of a Pennsylvania Arts Council grant for her poetry, has read her work in various venues including The Kelly Writers’ House; Brown University; Muse House; and The Painted Bride Art Center. Her recent work is published in The Whirlwind Review and Philadelphia Stories. She’s published two chapbooks: Meeting Tessie (Singing Horse Press) and Artificial Memory (Leave Books) and has completed a poetry manuscript called “So You Wonder.”

A woman she admires most is Jocelyn Hillman who for ten years has worked as part of a team to create and sustain The Community Partnership School in North Philadelphia, a K – 5,  private school.  At CPS, children apply from the surrounding neighborhoods, and if accepted, the tuition is kept very low, reflecting what the families can afford financially.  The class size is much lower than encountered in a public school and all operating costs come from donations raised by the staff and board, of which Jocelyn is the current President.

A woman I admire most is Julia Blumenreich, for her beautiful poetry. The poem she entered The Brittany Noakes Poetry Award with, “Watchic Pond, Maine” was a sensory experience of childhood loss pervading adult memory. I just loved it. At one point, Julia describes the scent of those brittle rubber bands and it made the poem for me. I can’t share the poem with you here, as it hasn’t been published yet, but publishers, if you want to change that after reading the below linked amazing poem from Philadelphia Stories, reach out!

Speaking of that amazing poem from Philadelphia Stories, I share with you by hyperlink: “At Your Tribute: A Black T-Shirt, White Letters: ‘Not Dead Yet‘”

I’ll give you a moment to read.

The refrain “Not dead yet,” in relation to the violets, as informed by the title…goodness. The flowers’ perseverance. The perseverance of memory, again, such a theme in Julia’s writing. The syntax of the opening stanza is astounding. I could study it. Taking it one, two clauses further than expected, then stopping with that sudden period, only to add more. It’s a relentless opening, as is the experience of loss. And Julia’s poetry is so sensory, rich as the 1920s.

It’s a gorgeous poem, just like Julia and her spirit. I’m so glad she entered, and congrats to her on her well-deserved finalist status!

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