Monday, June 11, 2012


Review of BEDFUL OF NEBRASKAS by Jill Osier, sunnyoutside, PO Box 911, Buffalo, NY 14207,, 2012, $20

Review by Barbara Bialick, author of TIME LEAVES

Jill Osier’s approximately five inches-square chapbook, BEDFUL OF NEBRASKAS,
contains some quality paper, printing and silk-screening, and interestingly worded poetry, but her and her publisher’s decision to charge $20 for 14 pages of print is extremely presumptuous, even if she has published in such journals as Poetry, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner!

Osier has some odd and intriguing turns of phrase and a keen sense of dualities and irony. But their snooty art-itude plays out best in the poem “Night”, where she verges onto Billy Collins-ishness.

“Night…wraps the red brick/elementary school/sitting snow-capped on a hill/like a nurse/too tired to change/her clothes/…She’s waited/until all the children have gone/to unwrap what one boy/gave her: /the black paper napkin,/its strawberry, each fine/seed intact.”

She gives nature a human mind, as in “The Temperature Outside Your Car”:
“Take chickadees: they/are never satisfied. That one/does things with clouds/That thing one does with clouds,/trees work too. Over there’s a crucifix,/over there a table chair.”

To tell you too many more lines might take away from the $20 experience you might enjoy in the future if she does a Selected or Collected Poems. Or you could jump in for this small work for the right to read “You Can’t Buy Shoes in a Painting” or “Yesterday the Girl with the Sad Half-Moon Mouth Said the North Pole Could Be Anywhere”.

I liked the prose poem called “Wyoming” which begins “You recognized the land, and I recognized you” and ends “You were a boy, and you were not a boy, and you were beside me.”

In any case, look for the name Jill Osier.  She might already be well-known to some readers of the small press.  After all, she didn’t even add a biography.


  1. As a writer, I'm smiling at that "Billy Collings-ishness"!

  2. Excellent review, Barbara. The little book couldn't have landed in better hands for thoughtful scrutiny and diagnosis. There's no doubt I will join the long line with my 20 bucks ready if she ever comes peddling them with aloof discreetness in the East.

  3. john finch3:39 PM

    Well, I will give the reviewer credit for demonstrating the ability to write a review that says more about them than the chapbook they are reviewing. Slam the cost (though it sounds like a fair amount of hand-crafting went into its creation (hand-sewn [assume this is the binding], letterpress and silk-screened cover")--guess I will have to buy it to find out). Then the snide comment about where she has published: Barbara, what am I sensing here, something green-eyed? And then some thin analysis of two of the poems before more slamming. Epic in its own "art-itude" to borrow a coined word! Anyway, here is another review that I found provided a more well-rounded overview of Osier's chapbook: