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A grim prognosis, brain cancer, leaves the speaker in Kirkpatrick’s Odessa fighting for her life. The tumor presses against her amygdalae, the “emotional core of the self,” and central to the process of memory. In poems endowed with this emotional charge but void of sentimentality, Kirkpatrick sets out to recreate what was lost by fashioning a dreamlike reality. Odessa, “r ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 11th 2012 by Milkweed Editions
(first published January 1st 2012)
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I will be honest, I don't read much (OK, any) poetry but as part of an assignment at work to read the 2013 Minnesota Book Award nominees, I chose the Poetry category. Odessa: Poems was the first of the 4 nominees that I finished reading and was blown away. The way that the author has taken the story of being treated for a brain tumor as a basis for such anguished, haunting, yet at times uplifting poetry amazed me. Adding all of this pain in between descriptions of a very tiny town in Western Min ...more
Now that I’m 50 I can admit to myself and others that I’m a closeted fan of poetry. I’ve gone so far as to purchase twelve of Everyman’s Library of Pocket Poets, placing on near the commode in our bathroom so I am sure to read one, if not two poems a day. “Odessa” won the 2012 MN Book Award for poetry – I was intrigued, so picked it up. This one did remain on my bed stand and I read about one poem an evening. Several topics are explored in “Odessa,” – loss, loneliness, beauty, suffering. There a ...more
I absolutely loved this collection of poems. Written in and around the author's diagnosis of brain cancer, the poems in Odessa are remarkable peeks into another person's life, loves, hopes, and fears. Enjoyed this so much I gave it away to a friend so that she could read it and in hopes she would further share it.
This is one of the best poetry books I have read in a long, long time. It's not just a collection of individual poems scrapped together into a binding. There is a sorrowful, haunting, devastating journey woven together so intricately that it is like peering at a spiderweb up close and slowly taking steps back — you see the detail, the delicate intersections, and as you back away, you see mastery of the cohesive whole. I don't think one read does justice to how beautifully the book unfolds. I'm u ...more
Patricia Kirkpatrick's "Odessa: Poems" deals mostly with a woman's experiences of divorce and brain tumor surgery. Unlike some contemporary poets, Kirkpatrick is capable of achieving vague, dreamy effects and ethereal ponderings without sacrificing readability or the sanity of her readers.