The book is Our Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick, and I don't have the words to express how much I love it. Her writing is powerful, political, and intensely visceral in its portrayal of the vulnerable and how they are compromised and failed by those with agendas. My words don't even come close to capturing the beauty of this collection.
“Whether she’s writing about personal loss or public tragedy, the poems in Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s Our Held Animal Breath always shine with a steady light. The natural world—foxes and squirrels, the ‘raspberries in the sloping meadow’—is a constant, quiet corrective in this work to human creation. We want to make the world over by ourselves and for ourselves, she suggests, but it is impossible for this poet to look away from the destructiveness that accompanies such greed. We will surely ‘lose it.’ And yet, these are not despairing poems. Kirkpatrick celebrates love and friendship, even memorializes the relentless hatred one woman can feel toward another. These are poems that refuse nothing—neither blueberry bushes nor bluegrass nor babies. We’re all in it together, Kirkpatrick seems to say, this ‘one wild rooted dance.’”
- Sarah Kennedy
Thank you Jeanne, and Thank you Lisa at TLC Book Tours.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I think this is my favorite poem in the collection. See if you can figure out why.
- Kathryn Kirkpatrick
When we spread mulch, forking
the fragrant heap to swaddle
roses, their stubbed branches
cut back before bloom,
I open newspapers
to the yera I want to forget
and lay down on the bare earth
leaf after leaf of headlines
Taliban Ready for Holy War
Sharon Defies US Pressure
If I thought this a necessary violence,
that the world needs blood poured out
like a fire needs what will burn,
I would gather the winding sheets,
prepare my prayers, shape rituals
or suffering the inevitable.
But I don't.
Death is enough,
takes its portion early or late
without our help.
And it it earth, finally,
what I bend to now
again and agai, to tend,
particular ground and what it contains,
we defile by so much defending.
As I lay down the stories of war
and coming war
I want each changed, slowly,
to what will do these plants good:
the absence of weeds,
moisture in drought,
sustenance sufficient for bloom.