Drawing together poems from six award-winning collections, Kathryn Kirkpatrick introduces the best of her poetry with the voice of the Fisher Queen, the otherworldly spouse of the mythic Fisher King. Hers is a story of wounding, equal to her husband’s, and just as connected to a wasteland, figured here as 20th and 21st century environmental devastation. These poems explore the multiple exiles of living in a woman’s body; traversing boundaries of region, nation, and class; and confronting human violations of the natural world. Moving between the quotidian and the mythic, Kirkpatrick’s multi-voiced lyrics constitute a powerful quest.
Praise for Our Held Animal Breath and Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful:
In beautifully crafted poems, Kirkpatrick, writing from Appalachia, explores her connections to Ulster, where her Scotch-Irish ancestors departed from, and to the American South and West, where they settled. At the heart of this collection is Kirkpatrick’s resolution through language of the tangled terrain of ancestry, a feat she achieves because she is “a woman, who makes her own country,” one formed by family history, the body, and multiple allegiance to, and love of, place.
A quiet but insistent ecofeminist anthem.
In venturing beyond her own lyricized experience, Kirkpatrick discovers a transpersonal self that as a citizen of poetry speaks with a vulnerable but strong feminine voice to both women and men, in a universal human language filled with pathos, hope, political exigency, self-accountability, tenderness, tough-mindedness, and a "cold eye" that witnesses poignantly to what so few other American poets seem willingly to take on as a "suitable subject," namely the grief of our time and place.