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In Course, Kildegaard traces the course of her mother's life and death, and of her own grief. At the same time, it follows the course of the river where her mother's ashes were placed.
The poems in Athena Kildegaard’s
Course contain multitudes: garter snakes, bats, herons, wild rhubarb, “the thousand / reed-hidden / black-birds.” But their central concern surrounds the complex life and death of a mother, and attendant mourning for her. Trust and doubt coexist in these pages, and the natural world offers solace but never complete reassurance: “How vain to seek certainty,” Kildegaard writes. Indeed, the book ends with a poem comprised of spacious questions. As readers, we are caught in the current of this marvelous book, which is as honest and deep-flowing and eternal as the river that passes through its pages.— Connie Wanek, author of
Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems
“Tenderness toward existence” is the phrase that came to me again and again as I read Course, Athena Kildegaard’s marvelous new book of poems in which grief and joy course together through time and to the end of time. “Any tender place for death,” Kildegaard writes. But equally true, as this book so lovingly demonstrates, is that any tender place is a place for life. Athena Kildegaard has written a book which has found a true home for tenderness in a world so desperately in need of it. —Jim Moore, author of Underground: New and Selected Poems