Kyle Potvin's chapbook, Sound Travels on Water (Finishing Line Press), won the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She is a two-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and received a commendation in the 2019 International Hippocrates Open Prize for Poetry in Medicine. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, Tar River Poetry, The New York Times, JAMA, and others. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies. Kyle is cofounder with Tammi Truax of the Prickly Pear Poetry Project: Processing the Cancer Experience Through Poetry, a workshop for survivors and caregivers. A member of the Powow River Poets and Frost Farm’s Hyla Brook Poets, she is an advisor to Frost Farm Poetry in Derry, New Hampshire, and served as assistant director of the New Hampshire Poetry Festival for five years. Kyle runs a public relations firm and lives with her husband and two sons in southern New Hampshire.
In this moving and well-crafted collection, Kyle Potvin looks at the difficult world of sadness and pain and shows us with fine imagery (“the Holsteins black and white as pages”) the beauty we often fail to see. “In some places yellow means caution/ in others courage” she writes. This is a courageous book. —Linda Pastan
In Kyle Potvin’s first full-length collection, she employs a sparkling lyric craft to ask, “How will I live?” While balancing the anxieties of breast cancer and its treatment—backed into the corner of her own existence—she creates a way to live with grace, finding pleasure in close observation (wasps, a rejoicing in the sky, a family of fox beneath her forsythia), finding pleasure in children, memory, and reading. This is a book of music, “Take this world,/ all its honking, hip-hop and hiccups”—a book of songs unloosed, of an unmoored state and then an opening and letting go. —Lee Briccetti
God looks down on Kyle Potvin’s night and admits: “this world is pain; do I have to say it?” But like Potvin, God promises, “I will try again.” These poems keep reminding us to try again—to “taste,” “bite,” “kneel,” “take,” “hoard,” “stay,” “sip,” and “brush off despair”—despite frightening diagnoses, life-threatening illnesses, and more of life’s scattered litter. While we will at times get stopped by the inevitable red lights of loss and time, life can also be like hitting “green after green after green” down Second Avenue. This collection, which could as well be called (after some of its poems and much of its sensibilities) Adopt the World or Rogue Wave, affirms that Potvin’s doubts and griefs are overtaken by her down-to-earth determination to survive and to savor “the bitter / the sweet, the salty, the sour.” We must be ready to “devour” all that we can. Writing in a variety of forms, and in a tone that is often serious but rarely heavy, Kyle Potvin shows us that to “loosen”—to let go of fears, limits, knots—we must also be anchored in the kinds of small observations, intimate stories, profound relations, and honest language that these poems hold. Reading them, “Let your mind rise, a chime / of wrens startled from the tree” even if “In the morning, / You’ll remember nothing.” —Alice B. Fogel
76 pages, paperback
Publication Date: January 2021