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Praise for American Happiness

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Not content with simple answers or easy platitudes, Trimble engages the contrasts and contradictions, even absurdities, of American life in the twenty-first century. Her grace is in the anger distilled to the bitter draft you savor as it bites, in thinking to ask whether Jean-Paul Sartre ever asked Simone de Beauvoir to go to the Winn-Dixie, in the fairy tales she rewrites and the myths of America she questions. This book you hold in your hands will teach and inspire and delight you. Be ready.
From the personal to the political, from the mythical to the real, from the romantic to the common, Jacqueline Trimble explores a variety of topics in engaging and at times even arresting poems in American Happiness. American Happiness is not a “happy” book. Nor is it a soothing or comforting book, and it does not profess to be. Reading the ironically titled American Happiness provides not only a slice of the poet’s and America’s lives, but it calls into question and implicitly invites readers to ponder whether or not this is indeed the land of the free and the home of the brave. That thoughtful questioning/pondering is well worth the reading.
In her debut collection, American Happiness, Jacqueline Trimble escorts readers on a poetic journey with Alabama culture ever-present throughout a narrative of, not only (re)memory, but discovery as well. Trimble skillfully (re)imagines her southern heritage while using tropes within this heritage to discourse on the larger world. Trimble reminds us of the epiphanies humans create by living a full life. There is a jewel of poet in the epicenter of Alabama who adeptly revisits the ugly of race, the power and legacy of familial bonds, the joys and beauty of growing up southern -- our complicated humanity. Say her name: Jacqueline Trimble.
Jacqueline Trimble waited a long time to publish this first book, but she is right on time. I longed for her kind of poetry, these cut-to-the-flesh poems, this verse that sings the old time religion of difficult truths with new courage and utter sister-beauty. And I am so grateful for her gift, her grown woman poetics.
One thing that is to become of us: we now can read and listen to Trimble’s very fine first book of poems. It may even be a book that helps us to release the hold upon us of terror and that schools us in compassion and the humor needed for survival. Trimble’s first collection – like good wine, properly and slowly seasoned – is smart, funny, mature, and engaging. Trimble writes her uneasy though definite love of place – America, the South, Alabama – in a manner that shows us that the wisdom is in the humor. Please read this book, and join me in eagerly awaiting Trimble’s next book of poetry.
Jacqueline Trimble’s American Happiness is an amazing read. Once I started these poems, once I had finished the first poem about her father, I could not stop reading but continued devouring them until I had finished them all. These poems are strong, passionate, well crafted.
Jacqueline Allen Trimble's first poetry collection, American Happiness, exposes the central irony we live and breathe in the United States: the jagged edge between a "freedom and justice for all" national ideology and our real daily lives. Through humor and horror, the slim volume's vignettes limn that dangerous divide. Trimble's words comfort our sorrow but never lie to make us feel better. She took her mother's gifts of humor, irony and steadfast love and weaves poetry that speaks like a true friend.