Kathleen Graber's first collection Correspondence was the winner of the 2005 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She will be a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University during the upcoming academic year. She has also received fellowship support from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. New poems are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Literary Review, and The Georgia Review. She lives in Wildwood, New Jersey with her husband and dog.
"This is a poetry of meditative embrace, which both repairs and celebrates the often chaotic nature of life. Her long lines and slow cadences lend a devotional feel to poems in which the hidden and forgotten are returned to the lyric realm of consciousness. She would hold everything and clarify everything she holds." -Bob Hicok
"Kathleen Graber's remarkable debut volume practices a poetic version of what surveyors call "triangulation;" by mapping points in the landscape and drawing lines between them, it's possible to identify where one stands or at least to point toward what lies within the space identified by these lines of interchange.... Correspondence is a fresh accomplishment, swift with feeling and intelligence, the work of a restless critical mind mapping its way toward a means to bear the weight of love. "
"In these poems, it's the way in which correspondences slip and fail to correspond that generates the beauty and deeply felt intelligence of the whole: "I want it all. Every broken brick: / if not the fruit, the flower, if not this, the rind, whatever it is / that's left over." Here, it is the struggle with incongruity that binds each assemblage together."
All winter I watched the cat in the butcher's window.
And now that the weather has turned & the door
to New Khan Meats stands open, I catch the whine
of the electric saw, the slap of the cleaver.
But because the white-coated workers stand
always with their backs to the street, I never have to see
what's being done. To keep ourselves together,
we learn to keep ourselves apart. Etched in the ancient tomb
of the Queen of Ur is the image of Capra prisca, a ram
caught in a thicket. We read the breed from the peculiar spiral
of its horns. The indifferent gray cat, loyal only
to the tough scraps from the master's block, slips out,
past two crates of mangoes, into the warm air of the stoop.
Last week, a man opened the battered back gate of an idling van
& swung three flayed goats°Xeven the heads were bare°X
across his shoulder, then stepped inside. The flesh
was neither pink nor bloodied, but a dry, articulate bank
of dark muscle & pale ribbons of fat. Imagine the first
spring, the fine, violet flank of night descending.