Polishing the Glass Storm
Starfish Wash-Up Buy Now $20

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


Polishing the Glass Storm
Polishing the Glass Storm

With Polishing the Glass Storm, Katherine Soniat constructs a riveting sequence of verse that explores how archetype can expand both personal vision and narrative perspective as we hone our experiences into an understanding of shared commonality. In poems that weave a linguistic web between the metaphysical and material realms, Soniat reminds us of the many ways in which language can reinforce otherwise frail connections between vision and experience.

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From CONNOTATIONS PRESS, NEW POEMS AND INTERVIEW on Soniat's newly manuscript:
Polishing the Glass Storm (LSU Press, 2022). Read article.


From V E R S E  I M A G E on Soniat's newly manuscript:
Polishing the Glass Storm (LSU Press, 2022). Read review.

Praise for Polishing the Glass Storm

I am in awe of Katherine Soniat's latest collection, Polishing the Glass Storm. Her poetic energies and talents are many and fierce mystery, imagination, story, knowledge, music and wonder. Here, the narrator wings us through birth, fear, sorrow, loss (including the loss of her own twin at birth) as she says, 'in love as I am with absence' as generations unfold and fold, in image and story. Some of those stories are 'soft ones, with feathers at the bottom,' told 'with the island nature of the mind.' Others are so tactile and gripping, they were surely written with the narrator's bare knuckles or the bear's 'warm saliva,' leaving the reader 'freshly skinned and slick... .' This collection captivates, energizes and charms. I'll return to it again and again."--Dannye Romine Powell, author of In the Sunroom with Raymond Carver

-- Dannye Powell, Charlotte, NC


What does it mean to be human, to have infinite possibilities, to contain every creature you ever loved, to die, to have never existed, to change utterly from one breath to the next, and for it all to happen in a single moment, a moment that lasts forever? I love Katherine Soniat's willingness to live in the vastness of the questions of Gilgamesh, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the Bardo Thodol, evolutionary biology and quantum physics--and to ground her work in the specifics of individual historical experience. Soniat has the audacity to create a mythic language for the soul's adventure that is utterly unguaranteed, adamantly open to the unknown: "Child, or whatever form of light you are, why point/to the bottom while the cranes fly high?" Polishing the Glass Storm is a new departure in American poetry, masterful and visionary.

-- D. Nurkse, New and Selected Poems,  former poet laureate of Brooklyn, Human Right Activist


Katherine Soniat speaks like a mystic in her collection Polishing the Glass Storm. She travels a landscape of mythology and memory to explore the mystery of existence in 'thin places' where there is an overlap between the living and the dead. The prismatic poems of this sequence brush up against 'the intimacy of time'  like 'bees in a crazed terrarium.' Soniat displays her mastery as a poet while introducing us to many selves in this marvelous collection of poems.

-- Alison Pelegrin, author of Our Lady of Bewilderment


The weathered grace of Katherine Soniat's Polishing the Glass Storm is full of erudition and lived experience rendered into a personal mythology. These poems are transfigured legends of the self, aware, wry, sometimes tragic and always graceful, always rendering the deep hunger to know, be known, to see through the looking glass of the apparent to the deeper structures of an unstable and glorious world.

-- David Lazar, Professor, Creative Writing, Columbia College Chicago


Bright Stranger
Bright Stranger

Kevin McILvoy - Author
"Katherine Soniat's brilliant body of work has clearly built toward Bright Stranger, a large scale accomplished book of great rarity. In every surprising section, you feel you are reading a singularly expansive whole vision of the most intimate processes of transmutation. The poems confront the awakening moments that dare a solitary person to acknowledge the mysteries of fruitful and failed connection; they offer no hiding-from and no summing-up and no retreating into mere regret.  After many re-readings, I cannot leave the amazing experience of Bright Stranger. I have read no single book of contemporary poems I admire more."

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Praise for Bright Stranger

"Shield your eyes as you read Katherine Soniat's Bright Stranger. The light often blinds in these mysterious, incantatory poems. It nearly keens, if shimmer can be said to have sound.

Soniat has discovered a way to account for everything and, in so doing, wrought a language that lusciously abides in her venerated natural world, but also explores like a medium the barely apprehended liminal ether that surrounds it. Indeed, she traipses like Eurydice (a haunting presence throughout this volume) with equal grace and bravado between realms, reconciling the earth upon which we walk with the fading apparitions of the past "the old decline of flesh that shifts / to language."

These poems thrum with exquisite voltage."

-- Joseph Bathanti, previous Poet Laureate of North Carolina


"In Katherine Soniat's gorgeous new collection, Bright Stranger, the story of Orpheus and his lost love Eurydice threads its golden weave through strata of dream, myth, and math to create shimmering layers of language and logic. 

The auras of summer grasses form "plump geometries" of light...Euclid's "constellations of lines, rays, and segments" represent "Certainties only the mind concocts."  In poems of exquisite detail, a speaker--daughter, wife, mother, traveler--journeys through the "Clips of a life" knowing this inexorable fact, that "we'll not pass this way again."  

Bright Stranger is stunning poetry."

-- Cynthia Hogue, author of Revenance


"Katherine Soniat's Bright Stranger revitalizes nature's panorama in all its wondrous, dirt-streaked glory.  In Soniat's world, wolves and condors can taste our blood, and we can feel the furred heat of being human isolated, vulnerable, astonished.

Dazzling and surreal sequences burst forth from caves and canyon walls...Magical, god-like coyotes, foxes, and owls fill these brilliantly vivid, evocative poems in which "the human figure looks pointless." Soniat rips open the lyric poem, as the singular "I" is displaced by the landscape. Confronted by the marvelous and bewildering animal kingdom, this speaker sheds "the human tongue."

Bright Stranger is exciting, troubling--visceral to the bone."   

-- Hadara Bar-Nadav, author of Lullaby (with Exit Sign)   


The Goodbye Animals, Turtle Island Quarterly Chapbook Competition Winner.

** For more information, please visit The Goodbye Animals page.

Judge Jared Smith comments ~ Poet
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.

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The Swing Girl, Louisiana State University Press (2011)

** For more information and purchasing, please visit The Swing Girl.

Kathryn Stripling Byer Comments on The Swing Girl
"The poems in Katherine Soniat's new collection, The Swing Girl, weave emotion's 'spray going farther than thought' with the 'bedrock things' of the trod-upon world. These poems eddy and pool in unpredictable and often surprising ways, much as the mind moves in its twilight state between waking and sleep. The fluidity of their cadence and the luminosity of their imagery carry the reader to the wellspring of poetry itself, that deep delight of which Robert Penn Warren spoke, whose source is, in Soniat's words, 'beauty on its way to being mystery.'"
The Firesetters: (Online Chapbook Series from The Literary Review and Web del Sol)

Alluvial: (Bucknell University Press)


David St. John, Poet, Comments on Alluvial
"Katherine Soniat's powerful new collection, Alluvial, charts the transforming courses of histories both public and private. Remarkably, she traces the patterns of what rises, falls and rises again through the passages of experience, as we watch storms of living sediment constellating--what settles and what is left, those residual nutrients of our futures--as the tides of our own lives subside. These voices and testimonies reflect how lives lived by water articulate both historically charged fluctuations. Soniat knows that life begins in water and that we all remain subject to water's constant reckonings. Alluvial is an inspired collection of poems."

A Shared Life: (University of Iowa Press)


Jay Parini, Novelist and Poet, on A Shared Life
"This is one of those rare collections that one hopes to revisit, again and again, in the years ahead. There is a rueful wisdom here, an achievement of emotional clarity that informs the poems, stabilizes them, makes them shine from the inside out."

Josephine Jacobson, Poet, on A Shared Life
"Soniat's work is remarkable for its combination of control and force, deceptively clear in tone-- the depths and complexities are all there under the lucid style. She is an excellent poet, original by nature of her work, rather than by strained effort."

Praise for A Shared Life - New Laurel Review Comments on Katherine

"A multi-faceted gem maker, Soniat has command of both lyric and narrative poetry. She can either capture the quick brushstrokes of a poem lyrically or tell its story. And like Robert Frost she knows stories are the path to any reader's heart. Soniat long ago left her apprenticeship and moved into a blacksmith shop of her own, where she continues to hammer out distinctive, striking poems. For she is a wordsmith, and this is necessary, poignant work. Indulge yourself."

Cracking Eggs: (University Presses of Florida)


Fred Chappell, Novelist and Poet, on Cracking Eggs
"These poems are haunted by possibilities in lost time that become hauntings of our present difficulties. Few poets are so intimate as she or so appreciative of the reader's intuitions."


Winter Toys: (a chapbook, Green Tower Press)



Notes of Departure: (Walt Whitman Center for the Arts and Humanities)


Sonia Sanchez, Poet, Comments on Notes of Departure
"A welcome breath in the arena of American poetry. Her voice has great vitality. Clarity. Perceptiveness and beauty. This woman. Poet. Exhaling her words. And we smile our lives in return!"
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