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My Kindred / Paulann Petersen

My Kindred

By: Paulann Petersen

€12.00
Balancing curiosity, beauty, surprise, and the weight of mortality, this book’s kinship embraces multitudes: fir, owl, manatee, and pollen; sun, sea, lily, and snake; the poet’s parents, Paul and Grace Whitman; the Good Gray Poet Whitman. Each poem bears witness to concentricity—the poet inviting trees to live inside her, a tree expanding itself to accept...
ISBN 978-1-915022-35-6
Pub Date Saturday, April 08, 2023
Page Count 108
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Balancing curiosity, beauty, surprise, and the weight of mortality, this book’s kinship embraces multitudes: fir, owl, manatee, and pollen; sun, sea, lily, and snake; the poet’s parents, Paul and Grace Whitman; the Good Gray Poet Whitman. Each poem bears witness to concentricity—the poet inviting trees to live inside her, a tree expanding itself to accept her body. Some of the poet’s kindred— the Biblical Eve, water’s sister, a lake, the moon, everyday moths, and more—speak for themselves. What’s mundane is never merely that. In this kinship, the commonplace carries a wild sentience, a mythic and sacred essence. Like the hummingbird, these poems pull—from our all too dark world—a thread of sweetness and bounty.


With her characteristic lyric deftness and deliberative thought and affirmative, intricate, and sensual feeling, Paulann Petersen reimagines our most erotic questions about family and mortality. My Kindred asks what is it about female love, power, and spirituality — what is it about daughterness and motherness? what is it about tenderness and belief?— that makes a woman long for more? From She-Wolf to the Eve of Genesis, from Calypso to Ophelia, from the Queen of Watery Realms to Paulann in her own lovely gardens, Petersen embroiders all her kindred forces into a tapestry of souls. The result is this beautiful book that weaves together the myths we make and return to in the name of desire.
—DAVID BIESPIEL author of A Place of Exodus and Republic Cafe


In My Kindred , Paulann Petersen turns loose her mythic, voluptuous imagination on her own mortality, her "green death." She partakes of the world with a hunger we usually equate with young love–the sun, the snake, the tulip tree, all bloom with her ardor and attention, accentuated by the shadow of what's to come. "The sky will soon take a breath / so big that nothing of me // will be given back." My Kindred breathes discovery and delight. It's a guide for the way forward, a gift.
—KATHLEEN FLENNIKEN former Washington State Poet Laureate


The new poems in Paulann Petersen’s dazzling My Kindred are world- knowing and lyrical treasures. As a big-leaf maple imprints its “deciduous leaf- children” into the eyes of the poet, our eyes as readers are also imprinted, with the unforgettable and image-driven songs that Petersen sings to us. Tough and funny and heart rending, these poems reach out to claim us as kindred spirits. I feel happy and blessed to be kin to this brilliant and buoyant new book.
— MICHAEL DICKMAN author of Days & Days and Green Migraine

Paulann Petersen

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has six previous full-length books of poetry. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Notre Dame Review, Wilderness Magazine, and the internet’s Poetry Daily. The Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds chose a poem from her book The Voluptuary as the lyric for a new choral composition that’s now part of the repertoire of the Choir at Trinity College, Cambridge. She was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and the recipient of the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. In 2013 she received Willamette Writers’ Distinguished Northwest Writer Award. 

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