- “These poems map the overlapping geographies of trauma and desire, combining Ovidian imagery with an emphasis on omission, redaction, and revision.”—The New Yorker
is too cold to break, pony. Said I almost set fire
to it all, lit a match, watched it ghost in the wind.
Came the thaw, came the melting snowpack, the flooded river,
new groundwater, the well risen. I stood in the mud field
and called it a pasture. Stood with a needle in my mouth
and called it a song. Everything rushed past my small ears:
whir in the leaves, whir in the wing and the wood. About time
to get a hammer, I thought. About time to get a nail and saw.
—from “The moon rose over the bay. I had a lot of feelings.”
In this gorgeous and heartrending second collection, we find the home one builds inside oneself after reckoning with a legacy of trauma—a home whose construction starts “with a razing.”
Graywolf Literary Salon: Six Voices for Today
Join Graywolf Press for an evening of reflection, resilience, and hope.
Hear from six talented writers as they read from their work, reflect on the past year, and share their hopes for our collective future.
Admission to this online event is free, but we encourage donations to help complete Graywolf’s New Chapter Campaign, a $3 million initiative to strengthen our publishing program. We have approximately $200,000 left to raise, and we have been fortunate to secure a one-to-one match of $100,000 to help us close the campaign. In this time of challenges and change, we have been buoyed by the creativity of our writers, the loyalty of our readers, the strength of our staff, and the generosity of our donors. Thank you for your continued support!
- “[The Renunciations] is a lionhearted odyssey through the self, a casting aside of old mythologies and traumas in search of new stories fashioned from love and joy. . . . Like some sort of oracle, Kelly offers us the words to create our own destinies.”—Oprah.com
- “Kelly (Bestiary) explores in her powerful latest the tenuous line between desire and trauma in poems that ache with memory and revelation.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
- “With an expansive voice that is always tethered to the craft of material of stanzas and lines, Kelly creates a powerful second book [in The Renunciations].”—The Millions
- “These walloping lyrics land like a punch to the gut, but just as powerful is what Kelly elides and omits. . . . A harrowing work of courageous lyricism.”—Booklist