Jane Mead

World of Made and Unmade

Griffin Poetry Prize 2017
International Shortlist

Book: World of Made and Unmade

Poet: Jane Mead

Publisher: Alice James Books

Click here to read an excerpt.

Jane Mead


Jane Mead is the author of four previous collections of poetry, most recently Money Money Money | Water Water Water (2014). Her poems appear regularly in journals and anthologies, and she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, and a Lannan Foundation Completion Grant. She teaches at the low residency MFA program at Drew University and Farms in northern California.

Judges’ Citation

“Jane Mead’s poem, World of Made and Unmade, moves with elegance between elegy and harvest, between the work of practical care to the unmooring that loss precipitates. The poem allows for the intrusions of dogs and the laundry room flooding, acknowledging how the force of our days persists in the company of the dying. And how those disruptions are sometimes what can help carry us, sustain us through the experience, realign our spirit, or afford us reprieve. And in the midst of this is the poet’s mother, the life she has lived persuasive and just as vital. Mead moves from the days’ demands, engaged and articulate, to depict the service, the duty, and the company the dying require. Occasionally, the poem is still, reflective, posited at the bottom edge of the page, engaging in the ongoing conversation and the reckoning. Her language serves loss as a bell serves its chime. In her life, Mead’s mother planted and cared for 2001 pecan trees; her legacy, an orchard. In World of Made and Unmade, her life asks her daughter’s ‘How will you spend your courage?’ This poem seems that brave response.”


Mead’s fifth collection candidly and openly explores the long process that is death. These resonant poems discover what it means to live, die, and come home again. We’re drawn in by sorrow and grief but also by the joys of celebrating a long life and by how simple it is to find laughter and light in the quietest and darkest of moments.

Note: Summaries are taken from promotional materials supplied by the publisher, unless otherwise noted.

How will you spend your courage

How will you spend your courage,
Her life asks my life.

No courage spent of
bloodshot / gunshot / taproot / eye-

How will you make your way?

Then, respond to the day
some other way than blind-

From The World Made and Unmade by Jane Mead
Copyright © 2016 by Jane Mead

More about Jane Mead

The following are links to other Web sites with information about poet Jane Mead. (Note: All links to external Web sites open in a new browser window.)

Have you read The World Made and Unmade by Jane Mead? Add your comments to this page and let us know what you think.