The Joseph Tree
by Isabel Chenot
56 poems ~ 84 pages
Price: $12.00/ ~ $14.00/
Publisher: Wiseblood Books
ISBN-10 : ‎ 1951319249
ISBN-13 : ‎ 978-1951319243
To Order: available on &


From the author's note: 'This collection is dedicated to my friend and the little son she buried. Its title poem is based on a real tree I saw. Ragged colors bursting from a twisted trunk–“the Joseph tree” gropes back to an old account of grieving a son. Most of the poems are my bone response to grass or mountains, or to desert light glimmering on the cracks; but the last section includes more visionary glimmerings.'


"Chenot’s poetry offers us fresh eyes with which to see–beauty, brokenness, and the surprising Transcendence that connects them."
–James Witmer, author of A Year in the Big Old Garden, Beside the Pond, and The Strange New Dog

"In The Joseph Tree, desert and mountain offer a window into the eternal–appearing sometimes clear and bright, then fading to leave mere human life in its wake. This deep response to nature and to spiritual experience is never–as it might so easily become–sentimental: indeed this work is an offering to a friend who has had to bury her own son. 'A heart must be broken to hold this land.' Chenot knows too well that both grief and love lie at the heart of everything, and she shows us that reflected in the wide spaces of America: 'I told you I was glad to be alive.'"
–Marcus James, editor of Anima Poetry Press

There is both beauty and wisdom to be found in this lucid and finely drawn book. The Joseph Tree has its roots deep in both Scripture and landscape, Word and World, and the poetry deftly traces the lines of connection between the two Testaments, and between both Testaments and our own lives as we live them now.
–Dr. Malcolm Guite, author of Mariner: A Voyage with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and The Singing Bowl: Poems


Isabel Chenot has loved and practiced poetry all her remembered life. Her work has appeared in places like Anima, Assisi, Blue Unicorn, Quill & Parchment, Spirit Fire, Rabbit Room, Tinderbox, and Story Warren. Her retelling of an old fairy tale, West of Moonlight, East of Dawn, is forthcoming with Propertius Press.


the road home

by Isabel Chenot

My heart knows well the alien angles
from which its casings once were fashioned,
but I would climb in a stranger fashion
through the terrain, the light, the burning rain, to the angels.

–Kilby Austin

The mountains, faded like a bruise
against late sky, were mute while whispered hues

glowed on their brim. The sky’s flushed hem
hung down and hushed the mountains.

The fields had been wrenched open
by the ploughmen.

They were obscured: only my knowledge
of them under noon light, dredged

with blades, broken in simple lines,
still shaped their immanence out of the blind

land. High overhead and huge and spare
a sickle moon swung: the whole weight of air

was garnered in its curve.
Paler and sharper blue, dove

grey and thunderhead, star-rinsed,
quenched, the sky gradated.

The mountains though immense looked low and small.
Only a grime of heavier material.

Only a handful.


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