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River Stone


River Stone

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chapters in the book.

RECOMMENDED READING

“In the poetry of Karen Hayes, rivers, forests, and other elements of the natural world are both metaphors for a life of separateness and silence, and also places of refuge and beauty. She continually longs for human connection, but finds herself standing outside, as so eloquently expressed in her poem Not of this Body. Yet, in River Stone, we see how she draws close: ‘I try to hold your words / I hold in my hand / a stone from my river.’ These poems are an attempt to open what has been, up until now, closed. ‘I have skeleton keys / my father left me / let’s see what we can unlock.’ In this book, Hayes reaches out to a new family, her readers, still honoring ‘the river / my home where I may not live.’ ”
—Michelle Wing, author of Body on the Wall

“Karen Hayes’ poetry, like herself and the river she writes of, seemingly flows quietly and serenely, but just below the surface, a powerful literary undercurrent screams to be heard with phrases such as ‘Rage plain as welts,’ ‘stainless thin tongue,’ ‘swirling with sweet, distressful longing,’ and ‘Tell me if I’m normal / Tell me if my apathy / is a symptom of my upbrung life.’ Karen’s poem Unraveled looks at the lost life of a homeless woman who ‘…should have been a hermit / secluded away near a wide-open vista / mountains distant blue / now she’s stuck here / mumbling along on the side / walking near the edge…Worn / tattered and torn / she carries a handful of blanket / like a scrap of love / bundled up / with woven fantasies / wrapped in gossamer / cobweb ends trailing behind.’ Very good work, Karen.”
—Armando García-Dávila, Healdsburg Literary Laureate, 2002–2003, and author of Profile and Perfil


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