OTHERWISE, SOFT WHITE ASH by Kelli Allen

Otherwise, Soft White Ash by Kelli Allen.jpg
Otherwise, Soft White Ash by Kelli Allen.jpg

OTHERWISE, SOFT WHITE ASH by Kelli Allen

5.99

141 Pages
©2012

Publisher: John Gosslee Books
Purchase includes: PDF

Read reviews on Amazon & Goodreads


Kelli Allen's debut book includes the short story "Orphaned Near the Cave" and the poem "The Twelfth Swan," among other works that according to Glenn Irwin, Assistant Director, University of Missouri in St. Louis MFA, "embody the kind of magic which good poetry has always striven towards and is full of the dark and wonderful complexities of life." Gary Geddes, poet and editor of 20th-Century Poetry & Poetics said "Kelli Allen's work...illustrates all three stages in the making of an artist."

"There is incantation in Kelli Allen's Otherwise, Soft, White Ash, a kind of magic which good poetry has always striven towards. Kelli does not shirk; she does not look away from her poetic responsibilities. She leads us into the middle of a miraculous forest, and, if we willingly leap with her, we learn the hidden names of all the trees. These poems are full of the dark and wonderful complexities of life."—Glenn Irwin, Assistant Director, UMSL MFA

"The poetry and poetic prose in Otherwise, Soft White Ash reconditions us to our world's wonders with imaginative words we want to carry around, because in the lightness of their absence, it's shown that there is truly a shame above all others: missing out on Kelli Allen's exceptionally intellectual and highly physical writing."—Tyler Malone, author The Brief Life Is Always the Best

"A compendium of prose and poetic narratives, Kelli Allen's Otherwise, Soft White Ash marks the emergence of a poet possessed of a fierce and contrarian voice and intelligence. Throughout, while delving deeply into themes both playful and painful, Allen fights a hard and successful battle against sentiment. Constantly, she pushes the boulder uphill with the result that her reader is privileged to experience the world in a new way and see the fractured spaces we live in as being more complex that we had imagined. Otherwise, Soft White Ash is a most impressive first collection."—Eamonn Wall, author of Sailing Lake Mareotis

"Kelli Allen's work cuts a measured path through the thickets of life, love and the natural world, offering the reader a new perspective on our oldest concerns. Exploring a range of challenging themes - doubt, jealousy, violence, and on a grander scale, the tension between cultures - Allen nonetheless generates a warmth that protects us 'against certain/coming snow.'"—James Roderick Burns, Other Poetry

"To locate the motherlode exacts a cost; to extract and refine it requires immense dedication and effort. Kelli Allen's work, which illustrates all three stages in the making of an artist, burrows deep into Yeats' rag-and-bone shop. If I were to damn this book with faint praise it would still burn luminous."—Gary Geddes, poet and editor of 20th-Century Poetry & Poetics

"Kelli Allen's debut collection Otherwise, Soft White Ash is remarkably clear-sighted; with a fearless approach she shows us 'hope is a round shade of some beloved eye, watching as we climb, climb hard...' but here, the words seem to stalk meaning (or meaning is climbing after the words); the language becomes haunted, almost sinister; and poetry swallows the truth like 'the priest ignores the ark in his woods because he is busy absorbing his shadow.' To overcome this shadow she goes there, she unflinchingly delves into the darkest parts of sorrow 'and the animals know their work is to hide every egg like dark stones meant for the river.' Kelli's poetry reveals these 'dark stones,' these elemental life and death struggles of survival, and through her rich and effulgent writing she brings us through it and back to those moments of truth where 'silence is its own type of vertigo,' and 'gratefulness is rhetoric aimed closer at thunder than rain.' The reader walks away from this collection feeling humbled, grateful and yes, even blessed."—Melanie Huber, Book Review Editor, New York Quarterly

"One of Kelli Allen's strengths is rendering impressions. 'Orphaned Near the Cave' speaks explicitly of 'old masters,' but this idea of something ancient, something tribal, is also implicit through the story's imagery. The world Allen draws is at once character-specific yet universal, modern yet mythic. In it, readers catch glimpses of their own lives, their own worlds, but what sticks is the feeling of something deeper, something more collective. To accomplish this to the degree she does, Allen relies on shadows, suggestions, the connotative-almost as if she herself has mastered the art of seeing her own world impressionistically, with one eye squinted, the other mostly so."—Don Balch, Editor, Echo Ink Review

"Kelli Allen's wise and lovely and poetic stories tap into hidden and unknown emotions. They are the kinds of stories that should be read out loud, and more than once."—Mary Troy, author of Beauties

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