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Odessa
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About the Author

Patricia Kirkpatrick is the author of Century's Road (Holy Cow! Press, 2004) as well as several books for young readers and chapbooks of poetry. Her work has appeared widely in journals including Prairie Schooner, Poetry, Agni Online, Threepenny Review, Saint Paul Almanac, and Antioch Review, and additionally in several anthologies, among them Robert Bly In This World (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems, edited by Caroline Kennedy (Hyperion Voice, 2005). She is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and two Loft-McKnight awards. Currently the poetry editor for Water~Stone Review, Kirkpatrick lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Reviews

LINDQUIST & VENNUM PRIZE FOR POETRY WINNER MINNESOTA BOOK AWARD WINNER Praise for Odessa "In Odessa, a new collection of poems by Patricia Kirkpatrick, the self collides with the dismay of the actual. The speaker's diagnosed with brain cancer, faces divorce, and watches her children leave. The good news is that Kirkpatrick's precise use of language, humor, and philosophical insight transform such experiences into a sustained and sustaining beauty--impeccably crafted poems that warrant reading and rereading... Reading Odessa calls to mind Audre Lorde's 'Poems Are Not Luxuries,' an essay that examines how self-scrutiny feeds the imagination and the work of poetry... Though written in a different time and context, Lorde's understanding of what good poems can and should do applies precisely to what Kirkpatrick achieves--fearless poems that have been written out of necessity and that are thus vitally important." --Jim Zukowski, The Rumpus "Among the many talents that contemporary American poetry offers, Patricia Kirkpatrick's Odessa shines a fierce white light. This book provides a fusion of unsentimental, realist fidelity to the subject and intense, metaphorical imagination. The speaker of these poems tells the story of her suffering from a brain tumor, and her survival, with a precise and steely focus. At the same time, she leads the reader into a landscape that's both identifiable as the contemporary Midwest and also enchanting, ghostly--the terrain of a lucid dream. The emotional power of Kirkpatrick's poetic narrative corresponds here with her mastery of craft. In nervy sentences and phrases, in sinuous and firm lines, all of which show the imprint of deeply lived experience, this poet proves Robert Frost's claim, 'No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.' I am convinced that Odessa will move its readers for many, many years to come." --Peter Campion, author of The Lions and Other People, 2012 Lindquist & Vennum Prize Judge "One of the speakers in these compelling poems declares, 'I am writing to say I have been opened and closed.' That is the truth of this book, its small map and enormous journey. With those and other simple words we are led--powerfully--into the difficult but calm reverie of discovery no matter the condition or circumstance of the treasure. As the poems show, we make this sojourn together even as the details make news of us all." --Alberto Rios, author of Dangerous Shirt and The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body "The nearness of grief and illness haunt the deep currents of this book to the extent that the present moment cannot be verified. The world is familiar and strange at the same time. If what once was known appears to return, it comes back changed. Thus the consciousness of this grave book must be finely calibrated--and it is. The reader is brought into the presence of a mind learning itself for the second time. Most of us only experience such wonder once. I am moved and lifted by these stark poems." --Maurice Manning, author of The Common Man and Bucolics "Patricia Kirkpatrick's Odessa is an astonishing achievement. Like Tomas Transtromer, Kirkpatrick understands what is rational but false; what is irrational but true. Supremely lyrical, brilliantly imagined--this is poetry of the highest order. In these pages, 'Beauty and suffering/ keep making the world.'" --Connie Wanek, author of On Speaking Terms and Hartley Field "As you read them, the poems in Patricia Kirkpatrick's Odessa ache in your hands. They will ache in your mind and memory, too, for a long while after you close the book. They ache with the inescapable beauty of landscapes that remind us of human loneliness--you can hear the grasslands sighing in these pages, hear birds great and tiny calling to each other as they try to find their way home. And they ache with longing for a self strong enough to survive the physical and psychic wounds that have confined it to rooms where flowers cannot grow and the wind cannot scour the soul clean of pain. This is a remarkably honest and deeply loving collection of poems. I haven't read anything quite so moving in a very long time." --Eleanor Lerman, author of Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds and The Sensual World Re-Emerges Praise for Century's Road "The voice in these poems is too troubling to be called meditative (unless meditative means to be reconciled with trouble), yet too compassionate and deeply patient to be called troubled (unless we mean unseated by beauty or bewildered by transience and eternity). These poems own all of these characteristics. I'm sure they will find space in many hearts." --Li-Young Lee "Earthy, intensely womanly, these poems vividly portray birth, family issues, and postulate a threnody of sorrow. The language is powerful." --Maxine Kumin "Patricia Kirkpatrick's poems bring a deep inquiry to her experience and a rich and expansive imagination into the world of the senses and things. They range through many aspects of human life, probing old age and midlife as well as pre-birth, raising questions of presence as well as absence. I find myself taken by their unsentimental tenderness--a mark, I believe, of all good lyric poetry." --Jane Hirshfield "Century's Road is a beautiful and generous book. Here is the world as we need it to be in poems: full of large, unavoidable terrors and the seemingly small but necessary moments of joy that allow these poems to become acts of love. Patricia Kirkpatrick's poems give us the world as it truly is." --Jim Moore "Among the many talents that contemporary American poetry offers, Patricia Kirkpatrick's Odessa shines a fierce white light." -- Peter Campion, author of The Lions and Other People, 2012 Lindquist and Vennum Prize Judge

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