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Cover for The Fence Lesson

The Fence Lesson

Kay Bosgraaf


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Kay Bosgraaf’s poetry reflects her emotional and intellectual reactions to the stages of life; to childhood, marriage, parenting, teaching, and growing older; and to the natural world. This new book also includes poems with a socio-politico point of view, and poems about love and its complications. Appearing in numerous literary journals and magazines—The Baltimore Review, The Maryland Poetry Review, Phoebe, Backbone Mountain Review and others, her publications also include three books—Song of Serenity, Blue Eyes and Homburg Hats, and her newest book The Fence Lesson. Her first book was one of three winners in a competition sponsored by Northwoods Journal. Her other honors include two month-long fellowships at Vermont Studio Center and a fellowship at the MacDowell Colony.

Praise For The Fence Lesson

Kay Bosgraaf is a poet of unstinting and nearly comprehensive noticing. She brings a painter’s eye, a musician’s ear, and a rare talent for lucidity. Often her business is outwardly modest, to consecrate an instant, but she imagines so precisely and she writes so well that I am always engaged, whether in the rural scenes of “The Fence Lesson” or the between-cities landscape of “Leaving You Alone at Mayo Clinic.” She is a poet of range, of places, but, also, of people. Again and again, she surprises, sometimes with wit, sometimes with seriousness. Most impressively, she never hides, and if she shows us beauty, she also writes “ of the wretched in the hateful world/ the mutilation, the wounds.” Deeply owned, completely honest, The Fence Lesson is a terrific read.

Rodney Jones, Poet

Kelsay Books, 9781950462070, 84pp.

Publication Date: October 18, 2019

About the Author

Kay's latest collection of poems is The Fence Lesson which focuses in part on her growing up on a celery farm in western Michigan, an area near the shores of Lake Michigan and settled by Dutch immigrants. Greatly influencing her poetry are her experiences there, surrounded by more than one hundred relatives. She has B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees and has published both academic work and poetry. She spent a lifetime teaching creative writing of poetry, rhetoric and composition, and literature. She taught two years at Michigan State University and seven years at Lincoln Memorial University in East Tennessee, with her longest tenure being at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, where she holds the position of Professor Emerita. Now she teaches creative writing as an adjunct professor at area colleges and universities and also spends her time writing. She lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband Richard, who sometimes finds himself in her poems, as do her grown children and two delightful grandchildren.