A Gem of a First Book
This year, my first chapbook titled WHITE GOAT BLACK SHEEP will hit the bookstalls in December. Filled
with Edenic imagery and incantation, and held together by the bond between two sisters, these poems are an invitation into haunting childhood memories of physical assault.
Influenced by poets like Gregory Orr, Afaa Weaver, and Petite Pascal, I write my own childhood trauma, surviving memories and phobias through poetry. For me, both reading and writing poetry presents an opportunity to probe boundaries, enter the dark, secretive, and oblique grasping at concrete language to give shape to psychological abstractions, creating order out of chaos, and effectively transforming the spaces in my mind that reel with the aftermath of violence.
WHITE GOAT BLACK SHEEP is, according to Sandra Beasley, "a set of intimate lyrics; secrets breathed between hands pressed palm to palm,” acknowledging that “each break, each space, each indentation is a reverent silence.”
“I think I am the part of a man he wants to forget,” says the speaker in poem IV, “I think I am a bone. . .
Little sister, I think we are two disjointed lines
stretched across a page:
You and I.
Little sister, I think we are in rows and there is
breath between us.
It is in this silence that I hope survivors of childhood trauma will feel the awe and respect granted to, what Beasley calls, their “ancient stories.”
“I and the river are tarnished,” laments the speaker in poem XVII, “See how we linger with blood.
Notice the rust in our waters, crushed like a fire at dawn
roaming the hills of an altar, roaming the body it takes.
All of my lines are a carcass. All of my bones altercate.
These stories twist and transform like the branches of an aging tree, and “dream a winding river,” claims Robert Fanning, “from suffering toward a truer redemption.” In the final poem, the speaker sings:
I have a little sister and she is nearly grown.
I offer her my secret,
she crows and scrapes her teeth.
I have a little sister whose sides, unstitched,
I have a little sister keeping secrets from me.
Lie down, little sister, your death no more than a sleep.
Lie down, little sister, sweet suffering little dark sheep.
“As witness to Kimberly Priest’s brilliant dream world” Fanning continues, “. . . we too are carried toward solace. Here, in your hands, is a gem of a first book.
I hope you too will agree that this gem is worth holding in your own two hands and consider purchasing WHITE GOAT BLACK SHEEP, available now for pre-order from Finishing Line Press. Your generous consideration will determine the number of copies my editor prints for publication over the next few months, and guarantee that my book will be made available to more readers in the New Year.
With a publication date set for December 8, this is a perfect opportunity to get ahead on your holiday shopping and buy a copy for the poetry lovers among your family and friends. Don’t hesitate! Pre-orders are due by October 13! This is your chance to own a limited edition book of poems, share poetry, and support me—an emerging artist making her debut as a published poet.
HOW TO ORDER WHITE GOAT BLACK SHEEP:
By credit card for $14.99 + $2.99 shipping @ Finishing Line Press: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/white-goat-black-sheep-by-kimberly-ann-priest/
By sending check or money order and your shipping address in an envelope, along with the title you are ordering, to Finishing Line Press, PO Box 1626, Georgetown, KY 40324
To all those who pre-order: Thank you. Enjoy!
White Goat Black Sheep cover art by Kamme Mekailek. Robert Fanning is the author of "Our Sudden Museum," Salmon Press, and Sandra Beasley is author of "Count the Waves," W. W. Norton & Company—both available on Amazon.com.