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Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson

Katie Peterson is the author of two other collections of poetry, This One Tree and The Accounts. She was born in California, and she is Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University.

Also by Katie Peterson:

This One Tree
The Accounts



This One TreePermission

$15.00 paper | 70 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-936970-21-6
Publication Date: September 2013
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A Green Rose book

The haunting poems that make up Katie Peterson's Permission move, smoke-like, through landscapes, both interior and those belonging to the natural world, landscapes that interpenetrate in often unexpected, sometimes startling fashion.It is a poetry of search, chiefly for completion or wholeness, amidst the world of forms and various weathers, not least the weather of sexual desire, and, almost as if by happenstance, unearthing all manner of wonders along the way.

            —August Kleinzahler

Katie Peterson's Permission releases us to explore the unnatural nature of the world. She investigates, with wonder, the "puckers in smooth song."  These poems offer a doubling, proliferating experience: a folding out and a folding in.  Like the children's toy called the Jacob's Ladder, Peterson's poems unfurl endlessly without ever denying their ultimate human finitude.  But what is permission if it is not defined by the transcending agency of its own incarnation, its eros, its awe?  And so quiet miracles ensue.  The never-ending ladder beckons. We climb its light: "not a dazzle but a conduit."

            —Elizabeth Robinson

The poems in Permission feel like intimate Persian miniatures with the epic scale of the Western Plains.  And vice-versa!  The vistas of someone learning what to want, filled with a sane and trusty longing, rivered by the darker streams of something more wary, coolly self-appraising, worried.  They’re love poems really.  And Katie Peterson is one of the essential poets of her generation, with one of its most distinct and clarifying voices.

            —David Rivard


Beneath the Altar

Beneath Zeus’ altar
they’ve found a god older
than Zeus: praise that.
Which womb wandered
half hidden from view
for her or him?
Are all gods carried
before they come to us?

Winter cottonwood frozen
in a picture of fear: no one
carries you & you splay.
I carry you as an image
few would turn to: in your light
my arms are many
and inflexible as fate.

I carry you anyway.
In the light of eight
your power of shadow
comes into you.

The god before Zeus
had an idea of power
but not power itself. I know this
because it’s what I’ve got
& I’m not born yet.

Beneath the altar bones and script.
They say a cow with child
just thinks she’s sick.