No Matter How Many Windows
poems by Jeanne Bryner


Jeanne Bryner was born in Appalachia and grew up in Newton Falls, Ohio. A practicing registered nurse, she is a graduate of Trumbull Memorial Hospitalís School of Nursing and Kent State Universityís Honors College.  She has received writing fellowships from Bucknell University (1992), the Ohio Arts Council (1997, 2007), and Vermont Studio Center (2009). Her books in print are Breathless, Blind Horse: Poems, Eclipse: Stories, and Tenderly Lift Me: Nurses Honored, Celebrated and Remembered.  With the support of Hiram Collegeís Center for Literature, Medicine and Biomedical Humanities, her nursing poetry has been adapted for the stage and is being performed by Verb Ballet, Cleveland, Ohio. She teaches writing workshops in schools, universities, community centers, cancer support groups and assisted living facilities.  She lives with her husband and daughter near a dairy farm in Newton Falls, Ohio.

Jeanne Bryner has given us perhaps her best work yet in No Matter How Many Windows. A project that involved over six years of research and writing, this collection of four family voices is as varied and surprising as a choral motet. The stories of four women, beginning with great-grandmother Bertha White Stiles, show us how we, too, can bear the blazing joy and pain of a world full of "risk and gamble." 
          --- Joyce Dyer

Using saved letters, old photographs and documents, Jeanne Bryner has assembled a powerfully engaging testimonial to the courage and endurance of her female ancestors. Mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, their hardscrabble lives of making-do, barely in rural West Virginia and later in housing projects of industrialized Ohio, are vibrantly presented. Bryner's good ear for language allows us to hear the down home music of colloquial speech, and her clear eye for particulars is on target. The "birthday card dollar," "rolling pin," "jars clanking in a canner," the words themselves call back another time of women overcoming the odds. This is a moving and memorable book that deserves our praise.
          --- Colette Inez

With a passion for naming each bruised face within four generations of women, Jeanne Bryner delivers in this impressive volume a poignant examination of a family caught in the hard-scrabble poverty of Appalachia. Her dependably deft use of imagery and finely paced storytelling create poems to which readers will return for sustenance and probing insights
into both horrors and delights of being family.
          --- Marc Harshman