Selected by Linda Bierds for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series
& Finalist for the Washington State Book Award
THE QUICK is a book of essences. Katrina Roberts's large-spirited and exhilarating poetry is at once celebratory and elegiac, lyric and narrative, striving to divine what's at the quick of this fleeting existence we share. Anchored in many ways by the long poem "Cantata," which chronicles her pregnancy and the birth of her son, the book turns and turns its kaleidoscopic lens, settling now on origins and creation myths, now on Greek or Welsh gods, now on a painting by Vermeer or on an article from the daily news, all slipping together to illuminate our coming consciousness, our coming to "be."
The poems ask how one might reconcile one's simple joys with the world's larger concerns. An inquiry of this depth cannot fail to encounter grief, but it is a grief tempered and transcended by the acceptance of ongoing life, as well as a consistently outward-focused eye and a passion for language. Sparked by Roberts's sharp imagery and daring cadences, this is a fresh and savvy collection, informed by science, myth, music, philosophy, and etymology, all braided within a sinuous narrative line that runs from sorrow to rich celebration.
"But unlike perhaps every other litmag I’ve perused, all of the poetry here [The Journal, Volume 28.2] sparked my complete and unadulterated enjoyment. Most compelling is a suite of works by various poets, each concerning the tender, reflective, occasionally paradoxical moments of parenthood or birthgiving... Katrina Roberts’ lovely piece “Postlude: Madrigal” follows, limning the willing self-sacrifices of motherhood: “…There is no fabric as rich / as the time I spend watching you sleep, / thought passing across the pond of your face / as the wind ripples the wheat…”
-- Mark Cunningham, NewPages.com.