Jo Ann was so awed by poetry that it took her sixty years to write her first poem. She felt a poet inhabited a limpid, lucid world that had nothing to do with her own life. It was one of Anna Akhmatova’s poems that released her from this self-inflicted constraint.
“Un poisson vert nage vers moi,
Vers moi vole une blanche mouette,
Je suis insolente, mauvaise,
Radieuse, et je ne sais pas
Que le Bonheur c’est ça.”
Born in New Zealand, a fifth generation Kiwi, Jo Ann moved with her parents and brothers to Kansas City, USA, at the age of eleven. Six years later, she threw away her green card in protest against the Vietnam War and the American fixation on all things military, and left for Europe. She quickly married an upright Swiss citizen and began producing babies. Fifty-five years later, she is still married to the same good man and they have two children and four grandchildren.
Her writing has followed the same arc as her life. She has written and published about loss, her country and her mother tongue, about her bohemian travel-lusting parents, and about feminism in a country where for many years she had no legal rights. She has even published a small transformative book of poems. Now she is finishing her first novel, Too Brief a Time.
Her website may be consulted at www.joannrasch.com
Not often do we have time and space to write in peace
our books, poems. The sky is heavy with potential,
the view of our lake seen from the other side enchants
us; we are elsewhere.
Like cats, we check our home and find each has a place,
you at the table, Matt the canapé and me my bed to write,
to dream, to be with words that dance in our heads
until its time for tea or gin.
Jo Ann Hansen Rasch