The Heartland Review Press

2020 Chapbook Contest


Jeanine Stevens

Gertude Sitting: Portraits

of Women

This is a collection of mostly ekphrastic poems based on women from various cultures and time periods.


Jeanine Stevens is the author of Inheritor and Limberlost (Future Cycle Press), and Sailing on Milkweed (Cherry Grove Collections). Winner of the MacGuffin Poet Hunt and The Ekphrasis Prize. Brief Immensity, won the Finishing Line Press Open Chapbook Award. Jeanine has six Pushcart Nominations. She studied poetry at U.C. Davis and California State University, Sacramento.


Judge Tasha Cotter notes  that "Gertrude Sitting offers the reader a kaleidoscope of experiences to savor. These portraits of women use language to enhance every narrative and the collection is held together by a cohesive vision. This book is a gorgeous excavation of the feminine."





2020 Winner and Pushcart Prize nominee


Jeanine Stevens

Title Poem


Gertrude Sitting


    Photograph by Man Ray of Gertrude Stein

     sitting for sculptor Jo Davidson, 1926


So much heaviness here.

Moisture makes the single window sweat.


“I could have worn crepe and jewels

but just a plain shirt, puckered blouse,

sturdy boots, like an old washer woman.


Left my brooch at home, fixed my hair in a top knot,

few pins, no fancy wave set. Someday—

Cut it short!


Better things to do, but all part of the ‘business.’

Hunched, my back aches, an exotic scarab.

A glass of Bordeaux might help, rub a dub.


My mind wanders to last night’s soiree,

no time to clean the cluttered plates and wine glasses.


Did Alice remember to pay the plumber?

What savory cassoulét is she considering today?


I’m facing the back of the other me;

Jo sculpts my waistline and good luck with that!


Behind me, other works of young, slender women.

Surrounded by rough planks, stairs and risers,

I feel like a stacked hay bale.”



So much is heavy set here: sitter,

art piece, balcony,

rough platform, chunks of light…




larger than Gertrude,

Gertrude larger than clay.