Roundabout Trace (Paperback)
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"Kristofer Collins brilliantly captures what life has been like in our fractured country in these pandemic years where we've been left wondering how to redeem meaning from the political rubble, and how to go forth with eyes open- even while sometimes teetering on the edge of despair. Despite his wrestling with a dark time, Collins ultimately offers us a vision where friendship and love become even more crucial. So many poems here are addressed to specific people, and you come away remembering that our connection to one another is what sustains us, as does our loyalty to place- in this case Pittsburgh- not quite "a fountain city" as his two year old son believes, but a hard won turf brimming with history and memory. "Is someone in that silent house hurting?" he wonders in "Music", the question illuminating Collins' desire to extend the already wide net of his compassion. His distinctive, unpretentious voice makes him the sort of poet who feels like a trusted friend you want to carry with you as you make your way home."
-Jane McCafferty, author of Thank You for the
"Reading a Kristofer Collins poem is like having a stranger ask to share your table in a coffee shop and, two hours later, walking away with a thoughtful new friend. Or reading a Collins poem is like sidling up to your oldest pal in a quiet bar and talking about the ordinary stuff of your day in transcendent ways. Or maybe reading a Collins poem is like taking a winter walk with the best and most tuned-in version of yourself, that part of you who knows deeply the world's darkness, but in the darkness, still insists on light. Pick your metaphor, but these breathlessly unspooling, wonderfully grounded poems about our interdependence will remind you "sometimes we get lucky and don't have to spend all/ those tumbling hours alone."
-Nancy Krygowski, author of The Woman in the
"Roundabout Trace is at once elegiac and alive with the restless music of nostalgia for what our cities and our country once were, and for who we once were. Though brief, Collins' poems are full-bodied, brimming with frank and precise language and stirring imagery. Pittsburghers especially will find much to savor in this timely collection."
-Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of
"Roundabout Trace is a deep dive into the playful, but alwaysprofound consciousness of a poet who never retreats into metaphysical mumbo-jumbo to make a point. This is a collection of poems that is at times droll, laugh out loud funny, morally serious, imagistic and always connected to the real world.
-Tony Norman is a columnist and book review
editor for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette