Saginaw Poet Explores the Broad Range & Tenacity of the Human Spirit

    Additional Reporting by
    icon Feb 01, 2024
    icon 0 Comments

Local author Jeanne Blum Lesinski recently released her debut collection of poetry titled Tethers End through national publisher Shanti Arts, which contains an astonishing array of contemporary poems rendered through a variety of poetic styles that vividly tackle an equally broad array of subjects ranging from the sudden heart attack of a beloved parent, to the beauty and solace found in the splendor of nature, to a spaniel dog held back from its true nature by the desire for and distance of the object of its attention. 

She likes to joke about her German maiden name Blum sounding like bloom, and since this collection compiles poems written over 40 years, she calls herself a super late bloomer.  “Better late than never,” she says. ”Besides, sometimes it takes living a chunk of life to know what you want to say. And even more time to learn how and to have the courage to say it.”

Covering a wide range of experience and emotion, Lesinski has produced a book of stylistically ambitious poems that are sharply observed, skillful in execution, and intelligent and generous in spirit. Some of them are written in free verse, some ae sculpturally shaped, some are prose, rhymed, and formal poems, but all of them adapt to the poem’s needs as defined by the subject it addresses - whether it’s a pair of rabbits frolicking on the lawn near a hospital entrance, or the topic of love through the metaphor of enjoying one’s favorite cup of coffee.

Lesinski says her journey as a writer began when she was very young.  “I’ve always loved words and reading books. Actually, I was one of those kids who read every book I could find at the local library, starting with the letter ‘A’ and moving down the alphabet,” she explains. 

“I always knew that I wanted to be a writer, but only took one creative writing class in college, and wrote for different local magazines when I was in different parts of the country, starting with South Dakota where my husband was getting his graduate degree. In 1985 I got a job working for a publishing company in downtown Detroit and did an apprenticeship writing encyclopedias, which honed my skills for writing informational books. This led to me writing a middle-grade biography of Bill Gates for A&E. 

With a diverse range of poetic styles and constructions contained within Tethers End, she feels poetry is a very individual form of expression and is adverse to being pigeon-holed by expressing herself through any one singular style. “You might like Robert Frost’s poem Birches, while I might be drawn to one of Jim Harrison’s poems. I’m inspired by certain images that arrest me, or stick with me because of the way and manner they are rendered.”

Family life while living in a handful of different Midwest and Eastern states informs the collection, yet not all of the poems are autobiographical. Some are cultural observation and commentary, but one consistent quality that runs throughout this collection  is how Lesinski grapples with questions of constraint and freedom, the controllable and chaotic in poems that range from traditional forms to lyric prose.

The range of Lesinski’s poetry also follows a chronological component seeing as they were conceived over a 40-year timespan, and are also grouped together thematically. “I started writing poems about the Amish because I lived with an Amish family in East Ohio for a while, which was the fourth largest Amish population in the country; and I also hate to read a poetry book where it’s all an exercise in catharsis, or expressing somebody’s misery, especially today when we have enough of that going on in the world,” she reflects. 

“Some of my poems are political, while others are humorous or happy.  A lot of literary journals nowadays are not interested in happy poems. They want the reader to be gutted by somebody, so I’m glad to be able to include a wide range of poems about a broad range of topics and emotions.”

While Tethers End was released back in October, she has not yet scheduled an official book launch but hopes to do so in the near future.  Because Lesinski enjoys personally sharing her enthusiasm for writing both poetry and prose, she is also available for in-person visits and can tailor presentations to groups of all kinds. 

"A poem isn't really finished until it has an audience,” she reflects, “and I am passionate about sharing my work. I was laid off back in August and between deciding whether to retire or go back into the workforce, right now I have time to speak to Women’s groups or civic organizations, so if anybody is interested in having me speak they can contact me at

“People ask me what poem in Tethers End is my favorite, but that’s kind of like asking who’s your favorite child,” she laughs. “I’m really proud of the new poems I am writing, which tend to be more academic and a little more political, but I keep trying new styles of writing, which is part of the fun.”

Lesinski vows her next poetry book will come in much shorter order and is also flexing her artistic muscles with artwork to accompany her written work as hybrid poems, poetry broadsides, and limited edition chapbooks.

Tethers End is available through local bookstores like the SVRC Marketplace in Saginaw, the Bookmarks store in Midland, and Cat Works Gallery along with Midland Street Books in Bay City, online from the publisher at Shanti, and also at, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. 

Share on:

Comments (0)

icon Login to comment