Local poet Janelle Cordero publishes third collection of poetry, “Impossible Years”

While the past two years have had their dark periods, local poet Janelle Cordero has found solace in the extra time at home. Introverted through and through, she has continued to thrive creatively during the pandemic. His latest collection of poetry, “Impossible Years”, is the result.

“Spending a lot of time in my brain, all that forced time at home, sitting with my thoughts — it’s been really good,” Cordero said. “It helps us prioritize.

“People are changing careers, devoting more time to their art or writing because they actually have time to do it now. I wouldn’t call COVID a blessing, but with the societal change it has provoked… we realize that our life is fragile and that we have to do the things that are most important to us.

Cordero studied English at Whitworth and later earned a master’s degree from the University of the Pacific. Now a teacher at Spokane Community College, she teaches English composition and creative writing.

His own studies continue through constant reading and daily journaling, whether jotting down a few lines, an entire poem, or a piece of “flash fiction.”

“One day, she said, I might be able to get rid of some of my old journals.

But not yet.

“It’s almost sacrilege to throw them away, but at the same time, I don’t want to put them away in my closet forever.”

Cordero’s work—first in “Two Cups of Tomatoes,” a collection of coming-of-age pieces, and “Woke to Birds,” a formally experimental journey into faith, spirit, and mortality— reached a new milestone in “Impossible Years”.

“I’m going more in a narrative direction,” she said, referring to Ray Carver, one of her literary heroes. “A lot of his poems are like that too – these little stories about really mundane, gritty things that happen in life.”

Dedicated to his grandfather after his death early last year, “Impossible Years” moves from childhood nostalgia to more recent memories.

“I feel like I’m finally far enough…to hold my childhood up to par,” she said. “I can say, ‘OK, there were parts that were really magical, and there were parts that were really painful.’ ”

From growing up in Colville, the same town where five generations of his family have lived, and navigating that legacy, to coming to terms with loss, the collection leans towards the concrete where his previous works were abstract. .

Many poems are inspired by the life of his grandfather.

“I lost family members, I lost people, but (he) was really one of my best friends,” she said. “This legend in my life – a huge mentor and spiritual guide. So losing him, dealing with my grief – he was in hospice, and that was during COVID – it was really difficult.

After sitting with her grandfather during her final days, Cordero began to write, not only about death, but also about the process of dying.

“I didn’t want it to be so focused on my personal grief,” she said. “I wanted it to be something other people could relate to and also find accessible.

“Grief is something we all experience and can all connect with.”

“Impossible Years” is available at Auntie’s Bookstore and Wishing Tree Books.

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