Katherine Bode-Lang’s fierce and lyrical poems undertake the reformation of family mythology, place, and loves that each life requires to become its own. As Stephen Dunn notes in his introduction, “One of the classic tricks of actors is when you want to get the attention of your audience, you lower, not raise, your voice. Katherine Bode-Lang’s work is not a trick—her lowered voice kept attracting me.”
Had I known as a child what it was—what
the beveled seeds tasted like, blooming
inside the pulp of yellow insulation—I might
have understood Persephone.
Sister Emma’s autumn of Greek lessons
never made sense—especially that story.
All those months away from Mother
for a fruit? But then, thick in the Midwest winters,
I had never tasted the tart stain.
Now further north, mid-December, we walk
among the dead, and I would still stay
for six sweet seeds bursting red
like small hearts in my mouth.
“As her book’s title suggests, The Reformation focuses on action, particularly the process of separating from or cleaving to… There is vulnerability and strength in these proclamations. There is also courage and hope—particularly in poems examining acute physical pain. In the title poem, the author cries out, “They do not know how you hold me as a teacup, / how you are so gentle as you sip the porcelain rim.” Love and persistence—this is what Bode-Lang finally comes to accept and believe.” —BookMark, WPSU