Praise for Wave Says
These gorgeous lines unravel like water, a wave as a motion, lines of a poem, individual poems in a book, not precisely separate from one another but manifestations of momentum. In this case the movement through lands and space governed by sound, the possibilities of sound to resound within space and the body, the body which is itself floating in space, itself water, its cavities and spaces lakes and rivers. I heard Marie Ponsot once say of Ashbery’s Flow Chart that it was most successful as a long poem because even before you turned the last page you knew that it was the ending. The reference is apt here because the language of this book is as precise as Ponsot, as expansive and unsettling as Ashbery, but its architecture, its ambition, its accomplishment is something unique and original unto itself. I am amazed by Wave Says.
Kazim Ali, author of Northern Light, and The Voice of Sheila Chandra
While reading K.M. English's Wave Says I felt that here was the inverse of so-called trauma therapy, that method which repeatedly returns the patient back to the site of injury to take away its effect. The poems in Wave Says live starkly in the present, enacting an ontology where return is impossible. While time insures erasure it equally throws back on to shore the remnant of what lived before, and so nature proves that the beginning and the end are entwined, and ongoing. Always on the peak of crashing, livid inside the poems’ perpetual approach, Wave Says is fearlessly original, which is to say, true.
Claudia Keelan, author of We Step into the Sea
Sawtooth Prize--Ahsahta Press
Kathryn A. Morton Prize--Sarabande Books
Test Site Poetry Book Prize--Interim
Cleveland State University First Book Prize
K.M. English’s debut collection, Wave Says, is a book at sea, but grounded, a book in which both wave and land speak. At turns Dickinsonian in contraction and Woolfian in expansion, English’s varied forms offer both oceans and islands, language and silence. In these strikingly gorgeous poems, shore and sea, beauty and violence touch and overlap, define and refine one another. Nothing in this book is simplified; instead, all is offered in symbiotic, complex, heartbreaking glory. The gift that comes in the guise of a wave is a wave, and it is given to the world out of which it came: “What looks like a wave giving way/ is given/ away.”
Sasha Steensen, author of Gatherest, and Openings: Into Our Vertical Cosmos