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From a mother's dementia to a grown-up Nancy Drew confronting midlife and a thoroughly changed world, Kathi Aguero confronts the mutability of life with insight and verve. These poems are unflinching in their gaze at loss, but also buoyant-- as, even scattering ashes, she can speak of pleasure in the fact that a friend was once "a body on earth." There is also magic in these poems, as objects--zippers, buttons, needles and thread--speak with wit and a mythic largesse. Throughout After That Kathi Aguero, like all masters, handles gravity with a light touch, and a voice that talks back to the forces of silence.
— Betsy Sholl
Featuring meditations on Nancy Drew and confrontations with dementia, After That is a book of poignant surprises and connections. This collection moves beautifully through several territories, not only because Aguero’s craft is exacting, but because of the relationships she establishes between poems, which make the reading all the more rich. I want a book to invite my engagement then demand it. This one does that.
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Daughter Of is
a rich and compelling book by a poet at the height of
her powers. Kathleen Aguero doesn’t waste words,
writes with feeling, and knows how to deliver a kick-in-the-teeth
surprise. Her gift for seeing sharp, unexpected resemblances
kept me saying Yes—that’s exactly right.
Her account of the bitter post-Tempest married
life of Shakespeare’s Miranda is alone worth the
price of admission; but the book abounds in other accomplished
poems, evidently drawn from myth, dream, longing, family
lore and memorable experience.
— X.J. Kennedy
Of, Kathleen Aguero documents, with devastating
precision, the privateand public lives of girls and
women. Inflected by feminism and post modernism, these
poems—couplets, free verse, litany, prose poem,
rhymed quatrains, crowns of sonnets, villanelle—deliver
many sonic pleasures as they detonate pieties. The poet
deploys figures from religion and mythology to illuminate,
with canny intelligence, western constructions of body,
gender, relationship: in a dramatic monologue, a contemporary
Persephone admits I mistook/his appraisal for praise.
There’s no mistaking Aguero’s linguistic
nimbleness or her searing insights in this heartbreaking
and tough-minded collection.
— Robin Becker, author of The Horse Fair
The Miranda of the brilliant opening sequence in Kathleen
Aguero’s new collection,
Daughter Of embodies Deleuze and Guattari’s
radical insight, from Anti-Oedipus, that “the
unconscious is an orphan and creates itself out of nature
and man.” Forged of equal parts will and insight,
the Miranda who abandons her fate for the dark lore
of her mother and brother is the mind and heart that
course through all the poems of this collection. Wide-ranging
and masterful in form, they wed sheer lyric gorgeousness
with discursive gravity. The woman’s voice in
American poetry that was only dreamed of thirty years
ago has been realized in this collection that excavates
and polishes finds from the landscape of female life
in myth, literature, religion and integrates them seamlessly
and inevitably with the pantheon of a lived contemporary
and domestic life.
— Linda McCarriston