Sycamore: Poems by Kathy Fagan

Last week, I read in Knoxville with Jennifer Jackson Berry and Kathy Fagan.  I wasn't familiar with either of their work, but have now read both and am so honored to have met them, heard them, and read them.  I'll review both their books here, since I would recommend both of them highly.

Kathy's book Sycamore: Poems is well-crafted and rich.  Kathy is a master at bringing the reader into a careful deep, a quiet, a thoughtful place, and then hitting them with a bolt-of-lightning image or phrase.  It takes the breath away.  There's humor but no silliness.  It's just gorgeous. Buy here.

From "Santa Caterina's Tomb"

On her feast day, recumbent under / glass, Saint Catherine was open / for business.  We queued up to touch her / hand, that never learned to write, // . . . Catherine's head lies at home / in Siena. Her heart could be / in my breast pocket right now-- / something's dead in there.


From "Sycamore, Wick & Flame"

When I'm found by a hand / in a series of hands, / I poole like milk in a blue bowl. / There's a key out there / lying in the grass, / and then there's me, / not looking for it.


From "Word Problem With Waves in its Hair"

. . . The knob on the oven looked like the combination lock to a safe / I desired to turn it in my hand like a curl in my mother's hair / She took me to the beach when she wanted waves in mine / She wanted to put some body in it she said / She already had my brother in her / He was a guppy in her belly then . . .