“Never less than accomplished, never less than intriguing, the poems in Penumbra exhibit the kind of empirical and aesthetic care which distinguishes the best of the contemporary poetry written in the tradition that’s taken William Carlos Williams’ infamous remark ‘no ideas but in things’ as one of its key starting points.” ~ Tom Phillips, in The High Window

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“Behrens here delivers an often shockingly good performance loaded with wild, unexpected insight and innovation in modes of thought and language (which after all are inherently enmeshed). What this collection is “about”—death—is what all truly good poetry is about. It is about it all, about life in the grand sense, and especially about poetry. I am enthused by the particular ways these poems render the sense of immanence in being alive, while we are.” ~ Michael S. Begnal, Empty Mirror

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‘These are poems with huge scope. They speak personal lament, love, whilst looking up also to wide horizons of thought, and exposing the “secret doings” of the world. They are poems alive with surprising images, unexpected turns. This is a very achieved and compelling collection’ ~ Steven Matthews

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In Penumbra, Kate Behrensʼ third collection, the poems are linked by themes of dislocation and heredity. If the dead are ever-present here, so is love: the absence of, rewards and longing for it, the endurance and effort of it.

We are led from the poetʼs bohemian childhood to the complex grief, in middle age, that followed the death of her painter father, and on to individual animals, people, and even trees that are differently uprooted or burdened. Everything is haunted here, but the boundaries of death and love are permeable, nature full of revelation.

Kate Behrens. Paperback, 210 x 135 mm, 56 pages, January 2019

Read more about Kate Behrens’ poetry in Poet of the Week.


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