Poetry. Says 2019 judge Maggie Smith, "The title TRANSFORMER invokes electricity and change, and this collection absolutely crackles with both. The poems are concerned with memory and trauma, violence and vulnerability, the domestic and the wild. 'I want all these lambs / to escape being mutton, ' the poet writes, and yet we know what will happen to so many lambs, so many sisters and daughters, so many mothers and children. How do we live with our fear--'a dense & solid thing / she knows must fit inside her brain / despite its size?' How do we see what we see, know what we know, feel what we feel, and live? The world of TRANSFORMER is one where survival requires transformation; in other words, it is this world."
"This world is full of knives and slaps, slammed doors, and cruel words. We see these ominous shadows and drips of terror in Kathleen Winter's depictions of childhood memories and medieval paintings, written even in the dry bones described at the edges of the archaeologists' digs. It can seem there is no escape, but the poems in TRANSFORMER are spells to bind this violence. Winter binds it with her exquisite knots of interlocking rhyme and rhythm, binds it with her transfixing imagery, she binds this violence with the audacity of boldly speaking its name. These are poems for a new wave of activism, one rooted in telling the truth, in demanding to be believed, in tearing down a silent wall of fear one line at a time."--Kathryn Nuernberger
"In her new collection, Kathleen Winter moves between the past and the present by magically weaving moments from her own life with those of figures like Henry VIII, John the Baptist, Wolfgang Beurer, and Hieronymus Bosch. That global vision extends to the settings of the poems as well. Winter takes us on an amazing odyssey that migrates from the Sonoma to the Pazyryk Valley to Port Aransas to Luberon to the Colorado Flats to Zurich to Maryland to Italy's Ligurian Riveria to the Rhode Island Sound to San Francisco. Just as the poems travel through cities and countries, so too do they venture through a vast terrain of poetic forms and an array of emotional landscapes. Like the best journeys, everything in this book feels fresh yet purposeful. A tour de force, TRANSFORMER is a masterpiece of literary accomplishment."--Dean Rader
About the Author
Kathleen Winter's poetry collection I WILL NOT KICK MY FRIENDS (Elixir Press, 2018) won the Elixir Poetry Prize, and her first book, NOSTALGIA FOR THE CRIMINAL PAST (Elixir Press, 2012), won the Texas Institute of Letters Bob Bush Memorial Award and the Antivenom Poetry Prize. Her most recent book is TRANSFORMER (The Word Works, 2020). Her poems appear in The New Republic, Poetry London, Agni, 32 Poems, and many others. She received fellowships by the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Brown Foundation at the Dora Maar House, James Merrill House Foundation, Cill Rialaig Project, and Vermont Studio Center. Her awards include the Poetry Society of America The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award and the Ralph Johnston Fellowship at University of Texas's Dobie Paisano Ranch.