Salt Pier

Dore Kiesselbach's poems reveal the particularity and/or strangeness of the commonplace—but many good poems do that. What strikes me about his, though, are the ways that visual imagery, diction, and cadence are modulated to fit his subjects. Thus in 'Rake' the inanimate object speaks (as in an Anglo-Saxon kenning) to describe the way it touches 'death / that life may be revealed / in green stupidity . . . fluent / as underwater hair.' In 'Hickey,' a diver swimming among stingrays asks, 'How long does it take us / in water sunlight permeates / to forget needing ever to be told?'; the unusual diction suggests both the speaker's suspension in water as well as his apprehension of joy. The reader may hear faint echoes of Hopkins or the early Dylan Thomas, but the language is Kiesselbach's own.
Ed Ochester
Winner of the 2011 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2014 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award

“Emotionally direct and visually all alike in column-shaped free verse, the poems in this debut from the Minneapolis-based Kiesselbach open up to show startling verbal skills, intellectual depths, and sensory complications. ‘Beach Thanksgiving’ wheels from seaside scenes into one, then another, sad memory: ‘Fire’s an assortment of sparks down the beach/ beside which your new family cooks./ Asked to bear a ring,/ you pulled and pulled at your hair.’ For an elderly mother, once a gardener, ‘Joy’s bolted/ in her face to sorrow/ like a pair of shears.’ Marital love in the present (Kiesselbach has a particular talent for love poems), what looks like abuse in the past, the cycle of green growing things, the cold of the north, and the warmth of the animal world all inform these investigations of confession and its discontents, of commitments given and withheld, sometimes through stark life story but more often, in a wonderful involution, through symbols contemplated at short remove—in turkeys, for example, whose unlikely dignity rebukes human discontents: ‘In fall’s/ ballroom they bow/ and straighten, straighten,/ bow, and finish/ with a salad course.'”
—Publishers Weekly

88 Pages, 5.7 x 8.5 in.

November, 2012

isbn : 9780822962175

about the author

Dore Kiesselbach

Dore Kiesselbach’s first collection, Salt Pier, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and contains work chosen for the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America and Britain’s Bridport International Writing Prize in poetry. Kiesselbach has published poetry and prose in many magazines and anthologies, including AGNI, Antioch Review, FIELD, Plume, and Poetry.

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Dore Kiesselbach