If Lorca and Neruda spoke through a feminine medium, they might do so through Kate Kingston. Her poems, like theirs, forge thrilling combinations from the colors, textures, and the objects of this world. They speak from the landscapes and voices of Spain and Old Mexico, which clearly have fed her imagination, but they offer, as well, glimpses of a contemporary American woman’s rites of passage now in full possession of her powers of empathy, devotion and perception.
—Leslie Ullman, author of Slow Work through Sand
Kate Kingston’s Shaking the Kaleidoscope invites us in to legendary, multi-hued gardens flooded with Andalusian sun and suffused with the gleam of labyrinthine moons. In these poems, we trace intricate pathways of the imagination traversed by GarcÃa Lorca and Neruda; but the poet, trusted guide, continually bids us to raise our eyes as well to the rugged contours of mesa, butte, and escarpment—the expansive New World landscapes that extend the numinous power of garden and patio, the incantatory prospects of memory and dream.Â In these imagistically rich and variegated poems, we dwell in the company of a traveler whose discoveries encompass dimensions both personal and mythic, and whose illuminations dazzle our sensibilities and deepen our intimations of wonder.
—Carolyne Wright, Blue Lynx Prize, American Book Award
This is a poet who can write about the domestic and the cosmic, the micro and macro views of the world. But more than any such analysis indicates, they are good reading, linguistically subtle and interesting, capturing a variety of moods and subjects. This is a voice we will certainly want to hear more of.
—Richard Jackson, author of Resonance
Kate Kingston gives us a world of rare complexity where language and place are a strong part of the poet’s experience. In this “Kaleidoscope” she revisits Lorca’s poems, family memories, Mexican ruins, and even an airplane journey where Kingston asks us to think of “oxygen masks as halos.” Shaking the Kaleidoscope is a dazzling collection of poems.
—Jennifer Clement, President of PEN Mexico
About the Author
Kate Kingston is the author of Shaking the Kaleidoscope, a finalist in the 2011 Idaho Prize for Poetry, and published by Lost Horse Press in 2012. Previous poetry collections include: In My Dreams Neruda, El Río de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatorio, and Unwritten Letters. Kingston is a recipient of the W.D. Snodgrass Award for Poetic Endeavor and Excellence, the Ruth Stone Prize, the Atlanta Review International Publication Prize, and the Colorado Council on the Arts Literary Fellowship in Poetry. She has also been selected as a finalist in Nimrod’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Arts and Letters Rumi Prize for Poetry. Kingston has been awarded fellowships from Fundación Valparaíso, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Harwood Museum, Jentel, Ucross, Colorado Art Ranch, and the Anderson Center. She has served as Language Department Chairperson at the College of Eastern Utah and Professor of Spanish and Writing at Trinidad State College. She currently lives and writes in Trinidad, Colorado.
Shaking the Kaleidoscope II
I cannot recall the sound
of the trolley, its chime
diminished by cathedral bells
nor the prints my knees
left in sand when my mother
lifted me to the car,
cannot recall the taste of honey
nor the voice of the vendor
selling split melons,
nothing like the pigeon,
guttural warble echoing inside
the jojoba, iridescent neck
collecting sunlight, not unlike
this street woman asking
me for pesetas, her shoes
as silent as the voice
that refuses. Not violence
to refuse a woman a handful
of coins for her story
spelled out in the sad leather
of her everyday shoes.
It was the way his memory entered the room
like a bell calling villagers to church
through a field of broken pencils,
Sorrow from the onslaught of pigeons.
I forgive the man in the black suit coat,
blossom of white in his buttonhole,
a ruin in his voice like melted candles,
waft of hand curling into green light.
A photograph blowing across the plaza
in a country full of olives.