The Goodbye Animals by Katherine Soniat
Turtle Island Quarterly Chapbook Award winner
"The poems composing this intricately and finely woven chapbook form a sequence that opens with the words of Octavio Paz, telling us-or in this case Katherine-to 'speak to you in stone language/(answer with one green syllable.' And, oh, the language that pours forth within that syllable! The poems encompass our birth from the amniotic fluid of mother and of universe, the animals and plant life that share this ark with us before melting back into the ark as we do, the loves and lives of those we know and are of a part. They explore in passionate and often painful, reverential tones 'the levels beyond my first floor ocean room…sliced from the first-hand world of chocolate sofas and perfume.' "Throughout, with her keen eye for imagery and wholeness of understanding, we experience intimately, the power and unity of all things animate and inanimate that are born as we are from the center of nova suns that spread their chemical trails and seeds across the frozen space of time until that unbearable darkness lands upon or forms some distant island where it can reflect back upon the light from which it came. "
—Jared Smith, poet
"Soniat travels at a speed quicker than light, arriving at her conclusions, observations, and ideas in a psychic manner that defies speed altogether for its sudden, utterly unexpected revelations. And yet, she still manages somehow to make sense, a sense that often depends more on affective understanding than a logical coherence. These poems are haunted and haunting, decrying a deep personal loss and loneliness whose provenance, at times, dates back to her childhood . . . . Soniat’s wisdom lies in her trust of her utterance that emanates from a voice, as Walt Whitman claimed in his poem 'Assurances,' that has 'another voice.' This voice in Soniat’s poetry is deeply chthonic and creaturely in its most human keening, both frightening and enlightened."
—Chard deNiord, poet
Katherine Soniat’s seventh collection, Bright Stranger, is forthcoming from Louisiana State University Press, spring 2016. The Swing Girl (LSU Press) was selected as Best Collection of 2011 by the Poetry Council of North Carolina. A chapbook, The Goodbye Animals, recently received the Turtle Island Quarterly Award. A Shared Life received The Iowa Prize for Poetry. Poems have appeared in World Poetry Portfolio #60, Hotel Amerika, Threepenny Review, The Nation, Poetry, storySouth, and Connotations Press. She was on the faculty at Virginia Tech, Hollins University, and teaches in the Great Smokies Writing Program at UNC-Asheville. Website: www.katherinesoniat.com.