Jessica Hiemstra
Artist. Writer. Designer. Maker-of-things.

Apologetic for Joy

Apologetic for Joy


Apologetic for Joy is a lush collection of poetry from a unique voice whose palette of subject matter ranges from artistic anatomy to dislocation. Hiemstra's poems reveal a sensual awareness and an imaginative escape into intricately woven poetic worlds, rich in sensual detail and metaphor. Her gentler sketches of quotidian moments peel away to reveal an artist and poet whose careful observations of the world undertake the difficult translation to page and canvas.

"Apologetic for Joy showcases a young poet who embraces the world with a sensual attentiveness and a steadfast lyrical clarity.... Whatever the future holds for this young poet, in Apologetic for Joy her arrangement of lines makes appealingly lucid and graceful sense." — Toronto Star

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When you buy this Jessica book from Jessica, it comes autographed, with a complimentary set of three mini prints featuring artwork from the book and the option to customize your order with a personalized note from the author! 


Yes, Love

When you’re asleep, I dream
a diagram, a and b and c.

a—one hair that’s too long, a stray, an eyelash
on a white page, a curved note
saying something about you
can always be lost;

and b—your foot casually walking to nowhere
under the covers, brushing in the dark. The sound
of sheets and then on the other side of the window
a gust of wind, your shirt on the clothesline
the illusion of you;

c—how it is, how it is to sleep in the curves
of you, the hollows of a person, small miracles
that we have so many depressions, places
for each other and shadow. The arch of your foot
a road home.

This diagram is the way your body
points to mine, how we mark each other
without leaving prints. If—

if you leave, I’d be the outline
of an unhung painting, my shape
your silhouette. I’d be nothing
but a place where there used to be
the Rouen Cathedral, full sunlight.

Reprinted with the kind permission of Goose Lane

"Reading Apologetic for Joy was, for me, like peeling an orange on a hot day and greedily biting into its juicy flesh. Wanting more, I eagerly turned each page to delight in the next surprise. ... a pleasure to read because the poetry remains as artfully loose as the drawings. ... It is literary and a page-turner at the same time." — The Malahat Review

"Hiemstra-van der Horst pens painterly poems that close in poignant observation or tease us with whimsy and absurdity. ... Multitalented, Hiemstra-van der Horst has talent to burn." — Chronicle Herald

"Apologetic for Joy is a master class in painting the quotidian with words, rediscovering delight in daily life while consistently acknowledging the brevity of human existence... Hiemstra-van der Horst directs her words like beams of sunshine through a magnifying glass to illuminate experiences that can all too easily be dismissed as mundane... Hiemstra-van der Horst has wrought some masterful and uplifting poetry, with elegant and beautiful ekphrases, and no apologies should be made if it is found to be a truly joyous work to read." — The Bull Calf

"Simple words so close to real life, so accessible in their truth and so comforting in their unpredictable beauty. Truly poetry as we would like it to be. Always." — Herménégilde Chiasson

"Though she may claim to be just arranging lines 'to make sense of debris,' her attention to thought and language is bold, often breathtaking. Her voice is a beam that sings and dazzles, and these are poems to set the heart ablaze." — Sachiko Murakami


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