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Kristen Case

Olivia Clare
photo by: Jaime Ranger

Kristen Case is the author of the critical study American Pragmatism and Poetic Practice: Crosscurrents from Emerson to Susan Howe (Camden House, 2011). Her poems have appeared in Chelsea, The Brooklyn Review, Pleiades, Saint Ann’s Review, The Iowa Review, Wave Composition, and Eleven Eleven. Her chapbook, Temple, was published by MIEL Books in 2014. She is the editor of The Concord Saunterer: A Journal of Thoreau Studies and co-editor of Thoreau at Two-Hundred: Essays and Reassessments, forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. She has published several articles on Thoreau, and has also written on Pound, Frost, Stevens, and others. She lives in Temple, Maine and teaches American literature at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Twelve Sentences: a video
Twelve Sentences



Little Arias

Ain't No Grave Little Arias

$15.00 paper | 81 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936970-37-7
Publication Date: September 2015
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | ShopWMU | UPNE

“Only for the poet who can honestly say ‘I have told you everything I know’ does the poem become its own seeking, searching after the world it names, pointing out not only the scene, but the silence within it, too, asking us who read it to come along. In Little Arias Kristen Case sings us into the strange facts of our being as language alone can give it: these words, these poems that call out to memory and mind, to child and husband, to sky and bird and tree, show us the distance between ourselves and all things we learn to love, and make the distance intimate. Falling into and away from the world at once (as the world also falls into and away from us), Case offers us these gentle means, poem by poem, to shore our lives against loss not by denying it or holding on tighter, but by seeing our grasp is always loose, time being so rampant in us, and helps us accept the fact of the wordless and the worldless dwelling inside both word and world. This book is a gift. And like all true gifts, it comes to remind us that what is ours is not ours long, and the hallowed ‘lace edge of / thou’ is also ‘this hollow this / this.’”
           —Dan Beachy-Quick

“Kristen Case is one of my favorite writers, and one of the writers whose work I most wish were my own. Her poems shimmer with an intelligence that is generous and welcoming, an intelligence formed in the encounter of the word and the world. Through Case’s steady and detailed observation of thought, of the processes by which thought becomes language, of language itself, and of the world in which thinking happens, the intersections of ‘the unfolding that is called myself or my body and the unfolding called a sentence’ are offered to the reader. Case’s language is prismatic; it takes simple-seeming substances, like light, and transforms them into multiples and densities and volumes. Her poems are charged with the precision of attentive looking and of longing; after reading them, I am left with the feeling of a stunned audience just before an ovation.”
           —Éireann Lorsung

“Book of thisness, book of withness, book of now:  Kristen Case’s Little Arias meticulously situates a woman’s consciousness in the immediacy of relation: with language, objects, other people, and the present tense. There is in these poems a marvelous fullness to each relation recorded, rendered so by the author’s belief ‘That a sentence...might become a habitable room into which others might wander and in which certain moods, certain thoughts, certain ghosts of the possible might find form.’ What makes this book so poignant, however, is its fierce commitment to also recording moods and thoughts that at first would seem to negate relation: absence, loss, and solitude all find their place here, paradoxically, as part of possibility, the fullness of being in the world. To read this intelligent, wise book is ‘to have swallowed an openness’ that starts at the heart."  
            —Brian Teare



Here water and water vapor,
limned cirrus, lit edge of
that which wants,
dark surfacing,
that which wants now the thing,
red maple, Acer rubrum,
now the way light strikes the eye,
cadmium, now and
oh, bright impossible,
oh, beloved.