NC Literary Hall of Fame












Untying the Knot by Karen Paul Holmes

Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books)
$16.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-0615998985
May, 2014
Available at

"Turning back toward the past, to reckon with and reclaim it, this book seeks to untangle memory. On its surface, Untying the Knot is about severance—about leaving the beloved behind and, likewise, getting left—but it is also a meditation on the sources of love and language. 'It's a comfort / to imagine our rounded bones / becoming round bits of the globe / our spirits rising to orbit among spiral galaxies / joining those who completed the circle before us,' writes Holmes, whose voice pushes readers forward into the unknown with confidence, precision, and empathy. "
—Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men and Facts About the Moon

"These poems are poems about the pains of a broken marriage. About half the people who have ever been married would be eligible to write on the subject, but very few, if any others, could do it with such grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity, as Karen Paul Holmes has in Untying the Knot. This is a courageous, deeply human, book."
—Thomas Lux, author of Child Made of Sand and God Particles

"In Karen Paul Holmes’ Untying the Knot, betrayal and sorrow are recontextualized into an acknowledgment of the transitory nature of relationships and the capacity to find joy through language. Indeed, in this work, one that dignifies a sadness so many feel, 'a spark ignites the dry leaves' in lucid and radiant ways, creating poetry that not only enriches us, but possesses the potential to teach us ways to navigate and ultimately transcend the difficulties of divorce and the feelings of loss and grief such division engenders."
—William Wright, series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, author of Night Field Anecdote and Bledsoe

A memoir in poetry about the end of a long marriage and the healing process written, according to Poet Thomas Lux, with "grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity."

This is the author's first poetry collection. It was therapeutic to write, and she hopes it will be helpful to anyone going through the grieving process.

Karen Paul Holmes has an MA in music history from the University of Michigan. She eventually moved south and worked her way into a career that involved her love of writing: she became Vice President-Marketing Communications at ING, a global financial services company. Karen is now a freelance writer and owner of two naughty Welsh Terriers.

Karen founded/hosts the Side Door Poets group in Atlanta and Writers’ Night Out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. In 2012, she received an Elizabeth George Foundation emerging writer grant for poetry. Her publishing credits include a number of journals and anthologies, including Poetry East, Atlanta Review, Main Street Rag, Caesura, POEM, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press), and the Southern Poetry Anthology Vol 5: Georgia (Texas Review Press). You may contact her through her website:

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