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Cover for Character Shoes

Character Shoes

Kate Light


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Poetry. Women's Studies. CHARACTER SHOES, Kate Light's posthumous collection, exhilarates and enchants like a command performance. The gifts and the curse of the young Sleeping Beauty in Tchaikovski's ballet (Some fairy picked/ and pricked her for all time) become a metaphor for the initial spark of inspiration within the child whose life would be spent in the performing arts. Whether Light's subject is the pursuit and performance of onstage excellence, the power of love for good or ill, or the joys and challenges of wordsmithing, the poems of this beloved New York City Opera violinist are always entertaining and enlightening.

Kate Light published her first three books in a little less than ten years, which perhaps did not allow enough time for those of us who read her work then to realize just how original a poet Kate was, in her intricate music, her uncommon measures, her unsparingly personal matter. Now we have her fourth book of poems and sonnets, CHARACTER SHOES, a posthumous work that gathers most of the lyric poems she wrote in the years after those books appeared. One can only hope that many new readers will be drawn to this most personal of poets and share her work for its grace, courage, and elegance. Charles Martin

Whatever their subjects childhood recollections, a trip to Italy, the life of a dancer and musician, relationships both happy and unhappy, or language itself the poems of CHARACTER SHOES are distinguished throughout by the sparkling wit, mastery of craft, and depth of feeling that inform Kate Light's unique body of work. The last poem in this last book of hers begins, Words, we ask so much of you. What she asked of the words she chose was answered in the form of these beautiful and memorable poems. Michael Palma

In CHARACTER SHOES, we see how early engagement with the arts fired Kate Light with an unquenchable creative flame. Light's instantly recognizable voice is conversational and most often informally formal. Add the twists and turns of a mind in the act of thinking, wit, drama, dialogue, and the voltage of rhyme, and you have the strategies that are her second nature. The one word not to be found in this book is cancer. It is, indeed, a book of life. Everyday life makes its appearance in the animated camaraderie of an opera rehearsal, train rides, portraits of people met, and musings on how technology has changed the course of courtship. There is another relationship that Light holds dear: that with the reader. How good it is to say that this relationship endures. Suzanne Noguere.

Able Muse Press, 9781773490243, 100pp.

Publication Date: August 29, 2019