Kathryn Kirkpatrick lives in Vilas, North Carolina, and is a professor of English at Appalachian State University. She holds a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Emory University, where she received an Academy of American Poets poetry prize. Her first book of poems, The Body's Horizon (Signal Books), won the Brockman-Campbell award, selected by Alicia Ostriker.

Pecan Grove Press

Beyond Reason
Kathryn Kirkpatrick


ISBN: 1-931247-09-9

"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

“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

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

Americans Breakfast at Bayview, Dublin

When I come down
to serve them sausage and egg—
these women broad in jogging suits,
these men talking golf and directions—
they’re already complaining
about the coffee, the traffic noise.

They puncture fresh tomatoes
and leave them on the plate,
discuss their children loudly.
The vegetarian son gone to Chile
will learn soon enough to eat meat.
They say third world country
like they say burned toast.

If I threw their ample bags
into Clontarf Bay, archaeologists
ten thousand years on might find
crabs lodging in the plastic shells
of hair dryers, mollusks mirrored
in compacts, anemones smug
in leather running shoes.

There’d be no evidence then
of these Americans standing on shore
will-less, the souls gone out of them.
Or of me, alone in the doorway,
wishing myself on an Inishmoor cove,
my ancestors having dragged seaweed
across the rocky miles
to cultivate potatoes
with soil they handed up
between the stones.

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