Balancing curiosity, beauty, surprise, and the weight of mortality, this book’s kinship embraces multitudes: fir, owl, manatee, and pollen; sun, sea, lily, and snake; the poet’s parents, Paul and Grace Whitman; the Good Gray Poet Whitman. Each poem bears witness to concentricity—the poet inviting trees to live inside her, a tree expanding itself to accept her body. Some of the poet’s kindred— the Biblical Eve, water’s sister, a lake, the moon, everyday moths, and more—speak for themselves. What’s mundane is never merely that. In this kinship, the commonplace carries a wild sentience, a mythic and sacred essence. Like the hummingbird, these poems pull—from our all too dark world—a thread of sweetness and bounty.
With her characteristic lyric deftness and deliberative thought and affirmative,
intricate, and sensual feeling, Paulann Petersen reimagines our most erotic
questions about family and mortality. My Kindred asks what is it about female
love, power, and spirituality — what is it about daughterness and motherness?
what is it about tenderness and belief?— that makes a woman long for more?
From She-Wolf to the Eve of Genesis, from Calypso to Ophelia, from the Queen
Paulann in her own lovely gardens, Petersen embroiders all
her kindred forces into a tapestry of souls. The result is this beautiful book that
weaves together the myths we make and return to in the name of desire.
—DAVID BIESPIEL author of A Place of Exodus and Republic Cafe
In My Kindred , Paulann Petersen turns loose her mythic, voluptuous
imagination on her own mortality, her "green death." She partakes of the world
with a hunger we usually equate with young love–the sun, the snake, the tulip
tree, all bloom with her ardor and attention, accentuated by the shadow of what's
to come. "The sky will soon take a breath / so big that nothing of me // will
be given back." My Kindred breathes discovery and delight. It's a guide for the
way forward, a gift.
—KATHLEEN FLENNIKEN former Washington State Poet Laureate
The new poems in Paulann Petersen’s dazzling My Kindred are world-
knowing and lyrical treasures. As a big-leaf maple imprints its “deciduous leaf-
children” into the eyes of the poet, our eyes as readers are also imprinted, with
the unforgettable and image-driven songs that Petersen sings to us. Tough and
funny and heart rending, these poems reach out to claim us as kindred spirits. I
feel happy and blessed to be kin to this brilliant and buoyant new book.
— MICHAEL DICKMAN author of Days & Days and Green Migraine