2019 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry

The Fisher Queen: New & Selected Poems

Drawing together poems from six award-winning collections, Kathryn Kirkpatrick introduces the best of her poetry with the voice of the Fisher Queen, the otherworldly spouse of the mythic Fisher King. Hers is a story of wounding, equal to her husband’s, and just as connected to a wasteland, figured here as 20th and 21st century environmental devastation. These poems explore the multiple exiles of living in a woman’s body; traversing boundaries of region, nation, and class; and confronting human violations of the natural world. Moving between the quotidian and the mythic, Kirkpatrick’s multi-voiced lyrics constitute a powerful quest.

“These are mature poems, crafted over the course of a lifetime. A younger woman would not have fought these battles, endured, reflected, returned and reclaimed as Kirkpatrick has done.  Her poems create a path and a lamp for those women poets who come after her.”  –Greta Gaard

NC Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell Award

Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful

Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s tour de force, Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful, proves once and for all that the scholar’s detective work can serve the poet’s task. With eloquence and intelligence, Kirkpatrick has handcrafted a collage of words and phrases actually spoken by the friends and relations of the magnificent and mysterious Maud Gonne, muse of W.B. Yeats.”
–Molly Peacock

“At the heart of this collection is Kirkpatrick’s resolution through language of the tanged terrain of ancestry, a feat she achieves because she is ‘a woman, who makes her own country,’ one formed by family history, the body, and multiple allegiance to, and love of, place.”
–Eamonn Wall

“In Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful, Kathryn Kirkpatrick relies on impeccable research and a keen insight into the intricacies of form to enliven figures as engaging as William Butler Yeats, the Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne, and Queen Maeve. Especially laudatory is the author’s typographical arrangement in the artistic rendering of Maud Gonne whose personality comes to live through the dramatic rendering of voices, fine-tuned and sculpted from snippets of unpublished interviews. Kirkpatrick possesses the mental acumen to pace this perceptive poem so that it skillfully illuminated Gonne’s traits as viewed by family, friends, and others. Throughout the book, the author enthralls the reader with well-honed gems that sing her familiar connections to Ireland while revealing a masterful command of language.”
–Judge’s Citation, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

NC Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell Award

Our Held Animal Breath

Our Held Animal Breath by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“If you’re looking for writing that examines the griefs and sweetnesses, the rage and the rewards, of life in our crucial historical moment—and that does so in language both graceful and sizzlingly direct—don’t wait a moment longer. Read this book.”
-Jeanne Larsen, Susan Gager Jackson Professor of Creative Writing, Hollins University

“In delicate, beautifully crafted poems that grapple with large ethical questions—about animals, humans, and violence—Kathryn Kirkpatrick looks unflinchingly at the ways that what binds us to the world is its vanishing.”
-Nicole Cooley, Director, MFA in Creative Writing 6 Literary Translation, Queens college-CUNY

“Whether she’s writing about personal loss or public tragedy, the poems in Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s Our Held Animal Breath always shine with a steady light.”
-Sarah Kennedy, A Witch’s Dictionary

Unaccountable Weather

Unaccountable Weather by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“It is as if the poet holds a chemical fire in her hands, daring it to burn. And it does, sparking brilliant poems that scour our consciousness.”
-Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought Poems

“Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s newest collection extends her already considerable accomplishment as a poet of narrative and metaphorical brilliance.”
-Susan Ludvigson, author of Escaping the House of Certainty

“Kirkpatrick fans will recognize her nimble grace on the page, and they will find here an intensified and exquisitely intimate urgency. These poems cut straight to bone.”
-Dannye Romine Powell, author of A Necklace of Bees

“Who is speaking this book? The feminine. Everywoman in her fear, her wit, and her interior grace.”
-Kathryn Stripling Byer, former North Carolina Poet Laureate and author of Descent

“Kirkpatrick’s Unaccountable Weather, though not an overtly ‘political’ book, sings a quiet but insistent eco-feminist anthem.”
-Dorine Jennette, Terrain.org

SIBA Poetry Award Finalist

Out of the Garden

Out of the Garden by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“Out of the Garden manages to achieve that most desirable and yet most difficult work, the weaving together of woman’s body and woman’s mind. Here is a voice that speaks to physical passion and passionate thought, to choices that line by line, ‘undo/ the careful silences.'”
-Kathryn Stripling Byer

“Kirkpatrick’s landscape is rife with innocence and betrayal, pain and ecstasy, sorrow and balm.”
-Dannye Romine Powell

“She is a brilliant poet who blends a fine lyric sensibility with an equally superb gift for narration. If there is any poet I’d compare her to, it would be Rita Dove, a recent Poet Laureate of the U.S.”
-Susan Ludvigson

The Master’s Wife

The Master's Wife by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

Published by March Street Press, this chapbook features a sequence of poems from the perspective of a wife whose husband’s lover is a sharecropper’s daughter. With haunting Photographs by Jessica Hines.







Looking for Ceilidh

Looking for Ceilidh by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“No animal lover sees a flyer like that on a neighborhood telephone pole without a pang. Every animal owner, I suspect, has an abiding dread that someday the picture and name on the sign might be your pet’s own. In her chapbook, Looking for Ceilidh, Kathryn Kirkpatrick takes us on a — I’ll use the word I normally dislike because it fits here — journey that none of us wants to take. But in Kirkpatrick’s fourteen page poem, although Ceilidh is lost, much is found…”
-Hilde Weisert, Animal Companions, Animal Doctors,
Animal People


2004 Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry

Beyond Reason

Beyond Reason by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“Sensual and sage, these poems maintain a taut balance between the vicissitudes of feeling and the consolations of wisdom. This poet’s delicious words do please—the ear, the mind and the heart—as they remind us that out of loss can come release and renewal, in part through the joys of language itself. The final poem, “Looking for Ceilidh,” is nothing short of stunning.”
-Susan Ludvigson

“This is a luminous book of quests—a book of searching spirit and searching intelligence.”
-Lee Upton

“Kirkpatrick’s poems are bold, articulate, intelligent. She is a poet who deserves more attention.”
-Susan Meyers

NC Poetry Society’s Brockman-Campbell Award

The Body’s Horizon

The Body’s Horizon by Kathryn Kirkpatrick

“Lucid, tender and life-filled, able to face heartache, precise in their evocation of sensuous experience, these are poems to treasure.”
-Alicia Suskin Ostriker

“These are transcendent poems, taking us out of ourselves into a realm that is frequently spiritual, even as the subjects are often personal. This is an amazing first book”
-Susan Ludvigson

“Now the quarter-billion Americans who refuse to read poetry have even more to regret, because they’re missing the experience of getting to know Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s poems and their bounty of pleasures: scope, savvy, humor, learning, eloquence, unpredictability, and willingness to take chances.”
-William Harmon