Unabridged Chick

I'm Audra, a 30-something married lesbian. I love interesting heroines, gorgeous prose, place as character, and the occasional werewolf.
Our Held Animal Breath - Kathryn Kirkpatrick At ninety-five pages, this slim volume holds forty-four poems where politics brush shoulders with the stunning vistas from the Blue Ridge Mountains and other rural locales, and loss and fear are tempered with cautious hope and steely determination.Extremely readable, Kirkpatrick's pieces share familiar actions -- hiking, gardening, meditating -- with emotions ranging from loss, confusion, and hurt to slow understanding and squared, pragmatic optimism. (The publisher has four poems from this collection posted for preview.) I raced through this volume in one night, then spent a few days returning to the poems that really sang to me. As a news junkie, Kirkpatrick's anguish about current events resonated deeply, especially as she tried to go about her day doing other things. Collectively, this volume painted a portrait of women I know -- the women from my work, my mother and her sisters, my neighbors -- and I felt a bit like I was reading their journals, seeing their private pains and personal passions. It felt intimate without being embarrassing.Some of my favorite poems in the collection include 'Driving Home', which is posted online at Cold Mountain Review, a flash of fright and heartbreak that immediately resonated with me and that I've reread maybe a dozen times now!; 'Stroke', Kirkpatrick's response on hearing the news of her friend's death; 'Canning Globalization', on her attempts at preserving fruits in jars, an experiment that reminds me a bit of my only attempt at it, political commentary and all; and 'Rescuing the Garden', a moment of gardening that is heartbreaking and triumphant in its tiny, specific focus. It's been rainy all week again, Biblical-like deluges, and this volume captured that mood. Everything is green, but sodden; I'm hopeful and dejected in equal part. Kirkpatrick's poems were good companions to commiserate with and keep me grounded.