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."

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."

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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