WHOSE NAMES HAVE SLIPPED AWAY
Kathy Nelson’s work ministers to the deep places within us: she explores difficult interpersonal arenas with conviction and courage. Her poems are well-crafted, incisive, her narratives compelling. There is one poem in particular, Friends, about a snake, whose imagery is so richly powerful it made me green with envy. Anyone who has a chance to read this book is lucky, indeed.
- Tina Barr Poet
In Kathy Nelson’s exquisitely expressive poems, nature becomes teacher. Nelson writes in the title poem: “ I’ve come out to find my bearings” as if nature provides an anchor. She also thinks of those who have gone before her: “…it is their road I walk, /looking for landmarks, signposts.” These brilliant distillations of moments in nature - a rain storm, an ice storm, a hurricane, a “snake coiled like a plate", “a spider standing her ground,” “a robin drop(ping) down, /sudden raptor to a rattling June bug,” the owl, “scouring /for warm blood on the ground” - mirror, and become metaphor for, the eternal struggles between daughters and mothers (and the specter of mother looms large), fathers, lovers, and that longing for rescue from “an infinite cascade into darkness.”
- Nancy Dillingham Poet
In this evocative debut collection, Kathy Nelson shares with us her fundamentalist upbringing in Texas, her grandmother’s wisdom… “when things are bad, a woman carries on,” her aunt’s bountiful dinner table. She explores love and loss - what is yearned for, what is freely-given or withheld. She tells us, “I wanted love as lush as cattails growing on the banks of the Sabine, love to soak this parched land.”
- Nancy Scott Poet
Kathy Nelson’s first collection of poems reflects a powerfully perceptive life journey. Peering outward from her unique inner experience - she holds, explores, analyzes, savors and ultimately frees her truths. Through her sculpted language, enhanced by deft brush strokes, she renders herself visible, pulling us so completely into her fold that we hear her clear, soft but distinct affirmation: “This is what must not be missed -/ this bright moment.”
- Molly Seale Author
Kathy Nelson’s powerful chapbook Cattails presents a narrative at once mysterious and fully apparent. Focused through the lens of family, class, and place, her tales acquaint the reader with the lost father “familiar as my own face, yet I cannot see you,” with the dark mirage and miracle of daughters. Kathy Nelson’s poems offer unerring personal and cultural histories - there is admirable exactness in her language and striking honesty in the telling.
- Katherine Soniat Poet