A Green Rose book
The haunting poems that make up Katie Peterson’sPermission 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.
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.”
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.
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.