Looking back, within, and ahead—while ultimately focusing on the here and now—Kristin Brace traverses landscapes of memory, dreams, and the imagination, exploring the fragments and shifting perspectives that shape experience and identity and reinvigorate the creation of meaning. With tenderness and wonder, these poems build their own stepping stones for the journey, moving from connection to disconnection, frailty to strength, and fierce love to intense isolation, depicting a whole that is enlivened by the coexistence of seemingly opposing forces, emotions, and experiences. Despite the darkness and uncertainty they embody, the poems in this collection insist on their existence, forever traveling toward moments alive with color and light. The poet draws from the riches of art, nature, and the quiet moments of every day in reflections often startling in language and content and unified by their voice-driven musicality. Fraught with illness, longing, and loss, these poems guide readers through the intricate geographies of the heart, sometimes hurtling, sometimes dancing, sometimes feeling their way through the dark toward the wild abundance of each new day.
“Kristin Brace’s Toward the Wild Abundance is a painterly book, not just in its evocations of Bonnard, Matisse, and Cassatt, but in the quality of light that threads the poems. It’s an intimate light that ‘blurs’ and ‘whirs,’ ‘streams’ like a ribbon from a chickadee’s beak. The light here goes absent at the mouth of a cave, comes to us in snow light, drips like butter. We might ask, as the speaker of one of these poems does, ‘Who tilted the room to let the light spill so?’ And does our world really shine back with such beauty? This book says yes, points us toward and toward.”
—Laura Donnelly, author of Watershed, winner of the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize
"Kristin Brace possesses a marvelous delicacy of attention, tuned to the stillness deer carry with them—sheen of light through an insect’s body—'ferns / patient as dinosaurs'—'mouse / with a pulse like wishing'! I love her imaginative possession of the moment, of joy, and of sorrow, by way of the dear infinitesimal."
—Nancy Eimers, author of Oz
"Notice that easily missed 'Toward' in the title of Kristin Brace’s elegantly down-to-earth collection. Through her unpretentiously precise language, she is taking us 'toward,' and along the way drawing our attentiveness to all that matters. These poems of the numinous reveal a world vacant of mere theory and speculation. Brace longs for lives where we love wastefully and stand in awe, whether it be before a work by Bonnard, a basil plant, or a clumsily played accordion. In 'A Pomegranate, or a Rhyming Couplet,' the speaker says, 'And this tablecloth / is a garden where I / could lose myself / and maybe find / us.' It is an abundant walk, this with the gently fierce Brace Toward the Wild Abundance."
—Jack Ridl, author of Saint Peter and the Goldfinch