We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone
By Kerri Webster
(University of Georgia Press, Paperback, 9780820327730, 72pp.)
Publication Date: October 2005
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What desire doesn’t seem as of the distance across a sea?” asks the voice in Kerri Webster’s debut collection of poetry, even as the poems attempt the transformation of that liminal space wherein word meets sense, loneliness meets solitude, and surface meets interior. Here, the surface is our signature,” and the image of stain presents a way for that surface to reflect that which it conceals. In this space, human intimacy encounters the transience and frailty of language, and through these encounters we discover that grace lies in believing always in imprint.”
Kerri Webster received her MFA in Creative Writing from Indiana University, where she was a Lilly Fellow. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Antioch Review, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Pleiades, and VOLT. Her chapbook Rowing Through Fog was chosen by Carl Phillips in 2003 for publication by the Poetry Society of America. She currently teaches at Boise State University.
"This collection is so adeptly crafted that it's difficult to believe it is a first book. Webster's poems offer language as a stain’ that bears the invisible into the realm of the manifest: she colors the surface, which in turn proves the interior. Depicting a world that is defiantly frail, Webster dares poetry to 'let fall [its] horrible pleasure.' This poetry's richly imagined interior life insists on breaking through, pulled inside out, 'dipped in marrow.' Rhapsodic and frightening, and full of wily and delicate power."--Elizabeth Robinson, author of Apprehend
"Taking on 'our whole silly empire of sorrow,' in which the holy is ever vanishing and the body—eager for more than 'to be entered only metaphorically'—is always trembling, Webster’s poems announce an authentically original voice of astonishing intellectual and formal range, refreshing and disarming in its frankness. The vision here is fierce, intimate, and tireless in its determination to see this life squarely: 'do the sacred miss the profane?' Yes, Webster suggests—but if so, then it is also the case that the body is 'an altar on which you can only lay down so much.' Webster makes of this dilemma a meditation that ravishes with its sheer nerve and everywhere persuades by its commitment to lyric beauty, intellectual rigor, and to the power—at once rescuing and mutinous—of language itself."--Carl Phillips, author of The Rest of Love
"Webster's debut collection is an unusually distinguished one, marked by an ardor that refuses to make distinctions between the erotic and the devotional, and a poise that disdains glib posturing or self-importance. Energetic, surprising, and witty, but above all laden with pathos, her poems are haunting in their insistence and bracingly original in their approach."--David Wojahn, author of Spirit Cabinet
"Webster's marvelous first book finds a fugitive comfort in its innovative handling of diction, desire, and a justly askew, yet sensuous seeing/sense of the world."--Slope