A Poetic Inventory of the Sandia Mountains


Product Details

Finishing Line Press
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.08 inches | 0.12 pounds

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About the Author

Amaris Feland Ketcham occupies her time with open space, white space, CMYK, flash nonfiction, long trails, f-stops, line breaks, and several Adobe programs running simultaneously. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, the Utne Reader, and dozens of other venues. Her guidebook of New Mexico campgrounds, Best Tent Camping: New Mexico, was published in 2021 by Menasha Ridge Press. Her previous book of poems, A Poetic Inventory of the Sandia Mountains, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. Her work with Poetic Routes has been adopted by the Albuquerque City Planning Department to use poetry as a means of understanding neighborhoods and community character throughout town. She has painted murals across Albuquerque, acted in a radio drama about the Badlands National Park, and taken students on multi-week camping trips along the Lewis and Clark Trail.


Amaris Ketcham's A Poetic Inventory of the Sandia Mountains does exactly what I want a book of poems to do--surprise me, enthrall me, take me away from the expected, the work-shopped, the writing school monotone where every poem is "professional" and virtually interchangeable. Her poems have what William James says makes "life significant." As he said in a word, "zest." In this poetic inventory, the human and the "natural" are no longer forced into faux distinctions. Ketcham's poems, like wild landscapes and cities, are to be experienced as one would blaze a trail, keeping track of scat and paw prints and herbs and hobos, noting each leaving of identity and imagination. Their richness and amazements make just one reading impossible.

--V. B. Price, author of Broken and Reset: Selected Poems 1966-2006

Grab this chapbook and follow Amaris Ketcham into the field. Don't worry about getting these pages dirty. Here we find bears, tarantulas, rattlesnakes, aspen and pine and juniper, amid the wilds of Goodwill, drainage tunnels, strip malls on bulldozed Indian graveyards, and a potholed Route 66. Plastic bags bloom off sagebrush as drunk hummingbirds swerve. As Ketcham reimagines the genre of the scientific inventory in poetic terms, she locates wilderness wherever she is and takes us along on her trek. The trail doesn't lead straight through the Sandia Mountains, rather retraces time through place. "When am I?" she writes, and "What does the next switchback promise?" Read this promising writer to inhabit this landscape that bewilders, to be wilder, leading us astray as a hawk's "home untethering."

--Gretchen Henderson, author of Ugliness: A Cultural History and

The House Enters the Street

Amaris Feland Ketcham leads us through Southwestern wildernesses, suburban sprawls and urban ruins with the humor, wonder, local knowledge, and companionability of a talented guide. These brilliant poems remind us ours is one world, shared with the critters and trees--yes--but also with our exes, teen rebels, Chevy trucks and graffiti. As powerfully as any young poet I know, Ketcham shows us what it means to be at home in this confusion.

--Jonathan Johnson, author of The Desk on the Sea