In The Beholder, Kate Behrens’ first collection, those fleeting moments between people, or between individuals and nature are distilled without judgement or resolution. A deer trapped in a garden makes a dangerous leap for freedom. Someone hangs onto a sense of beauty in the face of a life that is ugly and collapsing or confuses a landscape with long ago childhood play.
Things are revealed obliquely, as if by homing in on a subject, its true meaning would evaporate. Nature confronts the poet with its deliberation, pointing up the mysterious gulfs between it and us from a solitude that infuses so many of these poems.
The physical setting is often a Europe that feels unfamiliar — flats in cities, the burning horizon seen from a train, or the view from a window seen through the eyes of two traumatised people. But there is celebration here too, as in the ways children can heal, inspire, and teach us how to live, and in nature’s capacity to nourish.
“It takes a while to realize what Behrens is up to in her poems. Her language is idiosyncratic and poems that at first might appear simple or obscure are anything but. Read ones like Wren, Sap and Lights from the Night Train first, and you’ll find your way into the rest. A keen sense of observation and a quiet precision are her trademarks.” ~ Brian Patten
The Beholder is part of the The First Collection Series. The First Collection Series was launched in 2012 to provide an opportunity for emerging poets, already visible on the reading circuit or in pamphlet form, to have a debut, self-contained statement collaboratively shaped, edited, designed and published.