- PUBLISHED: October 2020
- SUBJECT LISTING: Literature / Poetry, Pacific Northwest
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 104 Pages, 6 x 9 in
- SERIES: Pacific Northwest Poetry Series
- ISBN: 9780295747798
In her wide-ranging third book, poet Kathleen Flenniken undertakes the difficult task of re-seeing what is before us. Post Romantic fuses personal memory with national and ecological upheaval, interweaving narratives of family, nuclear history, love of country, and a dangerous age moving too fast. Flenniken takes these challenging moments—bits and pieces of childhood, marriage, cultural touchstones—and holds them up to the light, seeking comfort in a complicated world that is at once heartbreaking, confounding, and dear.
Authors & Contributors
Kathleen Flenniken won the Washington State Book Award for her poetry collection Plume. Her first book, Famous, won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Flenniken’s other awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust. She served as Washington State Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014.
The surface range of Kathleen Flenniken’s new community of poems is admirably vast. A loving little lyric poem on reading a son to sleep is only one page away from the poem 'Helicopter, Chernobyl.' A poem on what we do to our oceans ('A raft of debris as large as Africa / accumulates in the Pacific gyre') is not far from 'Pillow Talk,' a rich, perceptive look at what we do to one another. But the poet’s 'post-romantic' sensibility hovers over all of these poems, many of which track love from its giddy flowering, through its many disappointments and hibernations, to a late, mature moment when a child’s voice 'calls softly through their closed door / as though they were one person.' And always (as with the dull drab maiden ladies in a museum room 'swaying so as not to be confused for displays') we find those Flenniken lines that allow the language of poetry to snap into existence out of the language of blah: 'the patience of a low place in the land / waiting to become a sea.'- Albert Goldbarth
Flenniken’s ambition is fully realized as she skillfully enlists a variety of innovative forms and voices. The result is stunning. Post Romantic is both a product of and a gift for challenging times. If poetry can sustain us—and I believe it can—this collection is a lifesaver.- Holly J. Hughes, author of Hold Fast
These poems interrogate an emotional condition and constitute an inquiry into its history of becoming. Together they chart the sojourn of one heart through time’s territory of change, doing so with a piercing honesty and beauty. Post Romantic is mature work of a high order by a brave and serious poet. It speaks the truth.- David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars
Not only does Flenniken grapple with personal feelings about loss, fear, and growing older, she also examines, with a wider lens, white America’s romantic view of the past. The poems are layered so that we move seamlessly between childhood, marriage, histories of war operations, and marginalization and displacement of others.- Erin Malone, author of Hover