A Piece of Good News
“Poet Katie Peterson’s fourth collection is filled with movement – movement through landscapes, emotions, and states of being – that courses with uncommon, illusory lyricism.”
– Southern Living
“An essential book for our brutal age.”
– Rosanna Warren
"Rilke Award winner Peterson's second book, The Accounts, tried to work through the emotional suffering she experienced after the death of her mother. This third book, dedicated to her husband and created in memory of her mother, is written from the perspective of one who barely survived a devastating blow and who is now ruminating on her loss. Coping with daily life, Peterson keeps an eye on the past. The poems are replete with biblical references and are ironic and quietly reflective, with their music based on assonance and repetition. The poem that best expresses the intent of the collection, 'Honeymoon Suite,' uses images suggestive of the mythological Charon and his ferryboat on the River Styx. Meditating on a ferryboat that moves away from the shore and into darkness, the poet speaks of finding 'a version of slowness/ for the soul.' VERDICT Peterson uses words as a videographer employs details and images. She slows the pace here and quickens it there, all the while building the evocative moment in which she doesn't so much remember as seek the meaning of her memories. Accessible to all readers."
"These poems burst into consciousness..."
New Selected Poems
“Robert Lowell is a poet who reveals our own idiosyncrasies as readers whether we read him or not. With full sympathy for not having any dominant literary culture or personalities ever again, people are crazy if they go too sour on Lowell. As Katie Peterson makes clear in her New Selected Poems, which is a beautiful and idiosyncratic edition with a superb introduction, he is a poet of immense range and subtlety, a poet whose poems are ‘memorable for their language, not simply the vanishing facts of story’ and who ‘remained constitutionally immune to any stultifying permanence either of form or of spirit.’”
- David Blair, StorySouth
“In her astonishing third book, The Accounts, Katie Peterson explores with tremendous lyric precision and emotional power not merely the heartbreak of personal tragedy but also the desire to make a beleaguered world new against the pressure of loss. Ovid’s spirit of metamorphosis haunts these poems and asks us to reconsider the redemptive power implicit in an account, how it is made, given, and made again. To fashion an account is to reckon, to reconcile, to recall, to count and so to number, to make things matter. As Peterson says in her opening poem entitled ‘Spring:’
Everything, everything, and before everything the possibility of something else,
the moment when a moral gets minced by an account a body makes of any other body, and time takes place instead of taking time.
So too, in the title poem, time is less mastered than engaged, less stilled than quickened by birdsong and its longing, its will, its imaginative grace. Here a nest cradles a purpose so full of adoration, it lures us to the future in the past, the past in the future, the heaven in the earth below.”
- Rilke Prize Citation, 2014
“Peterson is a poet whose generosity lies in giving the reader something to do — to register the successive jolts and calms of comprehension.”
– Ron Slate
This One Tree
“No one is going to not-know what these poems intend, what they state, and why they exist. They have the rigor of Oppen and a serious eye-level attention to pieces and parts of the chosen subject that give them an analogical edge over pure description. They bring heart and soul back to the poet writing them.”
– Fanny Howe