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The Age of Secrets

Olena Jennings


In a minimalistic and narrative style, Olena Jennings’ The Age of Secrets reflects on the relationships between girls and the secrets they keep. Characters Natalie and Aja are both objects of the narrator’s affection. She sees that world through the lens of love for them, a lens colored by the senses, especially the sense of smell. The section “Paper Doll Album” connects with the author’s exhibition of the same title in which the poems were brought to life through textile art. The poems reach beyond the pages. “The Spell of History,” the second segment, concentrates on the theme of memory and history. Memory stretches back to include ancestors’ memories. History is in the happenings that have not quite become part of the past, such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic. The voices in these poems carry past trauma with them into the present Russian invasion of Ukraine. And the final poems in the book address the war and offer images of hope.

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Olena Jennings is a writer and translator, the author of the poetry collection Songs from an Apartment and the chap-book Memory Project. Her novel Temporary Shelter was released in 2021 by Cervena Barva Press. Olena Jennings is the founder and curator of the Poets of Queens Reading Series.

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