Kelsay Books

New Book :: American Bitch

American Bitch poetry collection by Rae Hoffman Jager published by Kelsay Books book cover image

American Bitch
Poetry by Rae Hoffman Jager
Kelsay Books, April 2022

American Bitch is Rae Hoffman Jager’s debut collection of poems that portrays a woman starting a family in an impossibly violent and impersonal world. Jager’s book juggles an unlikely pairing of poems about football, Judaism, pregnancy, and becoming a parent. This collection is a funeral march and a celebration with allusions to Greek mythology, Marshawn Lynch, Rothko, and an ever-growing crack in the ice shelf. Jager holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and an MFA from Wichita State University. Her poetry has been published in a variety of online and print journals. In 2016 She was named The New Voice Poet out of Salina, Kansas. This book originally was a finalist with Sundress and Birdcoat Quarterly before finding a home with Kelsay Books.

Book Review :: Hands of Years by Riley Bounds

Hands of Years poetry by Riley Bounds book cover image

Guest Post by Elizabeth Genovise

Hands of Years poetry collection by Riley Bounds chronicles a journey of faith undertaken with open eyes. While stylistically spare (“tall and slim as votive candles”), these poems reach deep, plumbing the seminal moments in the author’s spiritual life and illuminating the healing power of such moments. Death is described as a space where “life simply leaves, vagabond through zodiacal clouds and dust”; to his father, the poet writes, “Your heart was always a war drum, so stay and tithe your noise”; a child’s prayer is “proffered to Who he doesn’t know from the textless hymnal of his solar plexus, the liturgy of bone and marrow.” In the collection’s final piece, Bounds prays that he might one day “hold the hands of years and become the voice I sing, echoing up the wall of our netted souls, refracting each other’s given light.” The power of these poems lies in their meticulous imagery, their brutal honesty, and their bold confrontation with difficult truths. They alternately rattle and soothe, offering a glimpse of light after each forage into the darkness.

Hands of Years by Riley Bounds. Kelsay Press, October 2021.

Reviewer bio: Elizabeth Genovise is an MFA graduate from McNeese State University and the author of four short story collections, the most recent being Palindrome from the Texas Review Press (forthcoming September 2022).

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New Book :: Real Rhyming Poems

Real Rhyming Poems by J. M. Allen book cover image

Real Rhyming Poems
Poetry by J. M. Allen
Kelsay Books, April 2022

Rhymers unite! Real Rhyming Poems by J. M. Allen is a chapbook of exclusively rhyming poems, which is quite uncommon, so the reader is in for a rare treat with this book. Twenty of the thirty poems in this collection had been accepted individually in thirteen different publications. The poem “Genes” won first place in a 2021 contest, and the poem “Ten Hours of Sleep” was picked up by Associated Press (immediately after it was published in a Minnesota newspaper). The author is a parent and included some poems regarding teenagers in this collection of humorous and serious poems. If you haven’t read good rhyming poems in a while, here is your chance! J. M. Allen is an electrical engineer and parent, who enjoys writing rhyming poems. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and has been a longtime resident of Rochester, Minnesota.

New Book :: Dancing Mockingbird

Dancing Mockingbird by Steven Dale Davison book cover image

Dancing Mockingbird
Poetry by Steven Dale Davison
Kelsay Books, February 2022

Dancing Mockingbird is one of several books coming out this year from journalist and professional writer Steven Dale Davison. The poems in this collection offer readers a meditation on the natural world and the feelings and insights they evoke. The works are grouped in sections for mountains, animals, and bodies of water under such labels as The Rail of Silence, A Vast Nest, Extra Terra, Elementals, and Speak the Lake. Interlogos – love poem interludes – are nestled between each section, and a Prologos and Epilogos complete the reader’s journey.