Horses in the Cathedral by Kimberly Burwick


The poems in Kimberly Burwick's Horses in the Cathedral challenge the conventional aesthetics of the poetic line in nuanced and subtle ways. Burwick's music yields great and unexpected beauty, insights garnered by long and patient scrutiny. More importantly, though, these poems surprise perception and offer the lover of books that rare gift -- a mysterious world we can return to again and again, with each visit our experience augmented. -- Brian Turner, Judge, 2010 Robert Dana Prize for Poetry

It's not just that these vivid, sometimes anxious, sometimes faith-full, consistently gorgeous lyrics surprise us, but that we don't know how they will surprise next. Image? Deliciously archaic word choice? Sudden wit or disarming sincerity? These and more make this meditation in nature's church a compelling read, as the speaker seeks to evolve beyond mere survival, to see abundance and live with abandon, "to see what the partridge sees" and to answer the call to be "a part of plenty." - April Ossmann

Each animal is the abstraction that goes through me: so Burwick says of those horses. Burwick, who won the Robert Dana Prize for Poetry with this book, writes spare, lyric verse that does plumb abstraction, but only by working through pitch pine and yellowwood, hands/ clayey with milk and magnolia. A fresh new sense of the pastoral. -- Barbara Hoffert (Library Journal)


Sent Away to Think

Each anniversary becomes tulips 
ready to burn,
becomes no fruit
in the after-blossom
of everything affronted
by cold, no 
berries in the bridged spikes
of bittersweets, 
no boundedness 
pointing where 
I do not go,
bloodletting the silver 
wall of lavender
and dyebush 
that is sweetleaf.
Winter is brutal.
Spring is brutal too.

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