This is the website of Katherine Soniat; poet, professor, and editor. She teaches in the University of North Carolina at Asheville's Great Smokies Writers Program and currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Her latest collection Starfish Wash-Up published by Etruscan Press is recently out (2023). Polishing the Glass Storm was published by Louisiana State University Press Poetry Series in 2022. Bright Stranger was published by Louisiana State University Press Poetry Series in 2016. A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge
from Dream Horse Press (2012) was the runner-up for The Orphic Prize and The Swing Girl
from Louisiana State University Press (2011) won the Oscar Arnold Young Award for 2011. A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge
was selected as Honorable Mention for the Brockman-Campbell Poetry Award given by the North Carolina Poetry Society. Chard diNiord was the judge - "The poems in Katherine Soniat's new book of poems, A Raft, A Boat, A Bridge, reverberate with personal and global threnodies, apocalyptic alarms, romantic philippics, and marital myths, all of which, like "the dust and air" Cassandra is given to see through, Soniat also divines with stunning verbal velocity."
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Soniat's latest work (2023)!
Ann Pedone, Katherine Soniat, and D.M. Spitzer--weave destinies by reimagining stories from the past. The books of Fates resist retellings. Instead, they reopen stories we have been carrying with us. They explore the limits and possibilities of form, testing the poetic line. And they invite new voices to disturb the universe. Ann Pedone's The Medea Notebooks reimagines and reworks the ancient Greek story as three "Medeas": the character from the Euripides play, the 20th century opera singer Maria Callas (who played Medea on stage and in film), and the poet herself. In these lyric portrayals of marriage and murder, sex and infidelity, the book explores and complicates our understanding of love, female sexual desire, and betrayal. Katherine Soniat's ekphrastic collection Starfish Wash-up also claims a myth as its starting point--here in the form of a painting of Telemachus kneeling by the Aegean seashore--and along with that archetypal Lost Son and so many modern-day children, we search the horizon for our missing parent, a search that expands to include the wreckage of, and loss of, the very planet that offered us our first home. In its queering translation of an Old Testament text from the Septuagint, D. M. Spitzer's overflow of an unknown self: a song of songs performs an act of interpretive violence, shattering the heteronormative version of the Song and arraying its shards into eight cantos of trans-moments that ask us whose love, which lovers, the Song celebrates, while transfiguring the Song's full-throated praise of embodied, human love.
Praise for Starfish Wash-Up
Like any three foils -- Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras; Sethe, Denver, and Beloved -- Ann Pedone's The Medea Notebooks, Katherine Soniat's Starfish Wash-Up, and D. M. Spitzer's overflow of an unknown self: a song of songs each appears more clearly as itself in the dramatic tension created by its connection with the other two. Each tenders its own wisdom, each ventures its own way, each savors its own wanting, yet the three harmonize not only because they share such features as telling the poet's own story in and as a shared story, but also because they share the quality that, characterizing genius, Marina Tsvetaeva called "the highest degree of subjection to the visitation": for Pedone "There are experiences / that break us open"; for Soniat "Entanglements drag us through time"; for Spitzer "an unknown source blooms & overflows us." Because Ann Pedone, Katherine Soniat, and D. M. Spitzer have subjected themselves to the visitation, The Medea Notebooks, Starfish Wash-Up, and overflow of an unknown self are visitations, subjection to which any reader will experience as gift and illumination.
-- H. L. Hix, Demonstrategy
What, in a human's life, is beyond human control? Fate is. These three poetic sequences render the experience of overpowering human emotion--rage, longing, sexual desire--in combat or in consonance with forces beyond reason. Each work shatters the vessel of a classical story and rearranges its shards into forms suited to our age. Ann Pedone's The Medea Notebooks alternates confession, reportage and text messages. Katherine Soniat's Starfish Wash-Up traces the search for the lost parent in language shimmering between the lyric and the mystical, sweeping with centripetal force elements of history, ecology, and the fate of the earth into its whirlwind. D.M. Spitzer's overflow of an unknown self: a song of songs, wields overlapping syntactical constructions and ambiguities of gender and identity to articulate desire breaching all boundaries. To read these transmutations of ancient texts epitomizing our most anarchic appetites is to feel intimately how beholden the human remains to its fate.
-- Gyorgyi Voros, Notations of the Wild: Ecology in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens