where the writers are
Kathryn Kirkpatrick's new book of poetry
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Kathryn  is a poet of such thoroughgoing honesty that reading some of these poems feels like eavesdropping, they are that closely focused on the details of experience. Whether  waking up from surgery for breast cancer  or describing the massage therapist kneading the scar on her chest, Kirkpatrick does not prettify the moment. Nor does she diminish it.  What makes this book memorable is how she weaves her own perspective  into a tapestry of other presences,  creating  a chorus of wounded, healing women rather than one solitary woman’s encounter with death and renewal.  The goddesses are here, with their grave and luminous visages.  And women you might meet at the local laundromat or fast food restaurant. Who is speaking this book?   The feminine.  Everywoman in her fear, her wit,  and her  interior grace.  



 

Athena

 

Not the saucered face of an owl

but a serpent coiled in her hair,

the shape of its head, on which everything

depends, indeterminate.

Triangle perhaps. Maybe oval.

 

She’s not wooed by the snake like Eve

but one with the snake like Medusa.

 

This is wisdom with bite,

appraisal cool and round as an egg.

 

Forget the olive tree, flute,

yoked oxen and bridled horse.

 

Forget Prometheus who tried to take credit.

 

The flames at her chest tell us

what she has suffered,

what she has made of her suffering.