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Poet's Corner: Kate Buckley 

When: Thu., Jan. 24, 7 p.m. 2013
Author of the books A Wild Region and Follow Me Down, and a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, poet Kate Buckley has a propensity for darkness. In “Laurel County,” Buckley — or, in the parlance of the genre, the “voice of the poem” — recalls her mother’s stories of growing up poor: “There must have been times / Kentucky seemed a life sentence, / a dark-veined monster burning coal in her belly.” Like the best narrative free verse, “Laurel County” catalogs the small details of a hardscrabble past that, by Buckley’s careful observation, are magnified, and become almost talismanic — for instance, the home-canned jam, “thick and expensive,” made with berries harvested from sharecropper fields. The poem ends with an image that conjures how ephemeral memory is: “You were on the hilltop — skirt taut, / caught between your legs, signaling something, I could not make out what, / the kite obscuring my vision — / the wind would catch it, then let it fall.”
— Steve Haruch


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