Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. She is also the author of 45 books for young readers, including the Zapato Power series, the Sofia Martinez series, The Hardest Word, Never Say A Mean Word Again, and Tag Your Dreams: Poems of Play and Persistence. Her poetry has appeared in over 100 publications, including The Paterson Literary Review, The Broome Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.
Paperback: 60 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (January 25, 2021)
Manna in the Morning is, quite simply, a lovely book. As she revisits holy texts, Jacqueline Jules gracefully connects ancient stories with modern times, gaining insights into her own quandaries and gently suggesting paths through which all of us may traverse our conflicts and crises. Go ahead and feast on the spiritual sustenance that Manna in the Morning provides. You won’t regret it.
—Erika Dreifus, author of Birthright: Poems and Quiet Americans: Stories
In Manna in the Morning, poet Jacqueline Jules “stand[s] on a narrow bridge,/
the width of a whisper,/connecting [yesterday to] today to tomorrow.” Exploring choice and struggle in the lives of Abraham, Naomi, Noah, Jonah, Sarah, Eve, and other Biblical persons, the poet brings us back to ourselves. Jealousy and grief give way to prayer; humility and perseverance to hope. “Swirling in the fragile space/between faith and fear[,]” she encourages us to “read beyond the transgression,/consider the whole saga.” Only then do we find again the “lost...ability to speak to each other[,]” the miracle of manna.
—Marjorie Maddox, author of Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises
The first poem in Manna in the Morning lists the crimes of Jacob, Moses, and David: “The Bible elevates lives/marked by more than merit” writes Jacqueline Jules. She continues: “Yet unlike Twitter, the Bible/doesn’t cancel characters. We are told/to read beyond the transgression, / consider the whole saga.” Jules explores contemporary faith with nuance and sensitivity, braiding together the ancient world and twenty-first century. She’s particularly interested in the roles women play in the Biblical texts and brings a lively feminist sensibility to her poems: “I’m Miriam/holding a tambourine,/dancing in the desert, grateful/for the smallest excuse/to sing.”
—Katherine E. Young, author of Day of the Border Guards, Poet Laureate Emerita, Arlington, Virginia