The Keys to the Jail


Product Details

$17.00  $15.81
BOA Editions
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.4 inches | 0.4 pounds

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About the Author

Keetje Kuipers is a native of the Northwest. She earned her B.A. at Swarthmore College and her M.F.A. at the University of Oregon. She has been the recipient of a number of fellowships, including those from the Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Oregon Literary Arts.

In 2007 Keetje completed her tenure as the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Resident, which provided her with seven months of solitude in Oregon's Rogue River Valley. She used her time there to complete work on her book, Beautiful in the Mouth, which was awarded the 2009 A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and was published in 2010 by BOA Editions. It contains poems previously published in Prairie Schooner, West Branch, Willow Springs, and AGNI, among others. You can also listen to her read her work--which has been nominated seven years in a row for the Pushcart Prize--at the online audio archive From the Fishouse. Keetje's second book, The Keys to the Jail, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in the spring of 2014, and contains poems previously published in American Poetry Review, Jubilat, and the Indiana Review.

Keetje was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University from 2009-2011, and she was the Emerging Writing Lecturer at Gettysburg College from 2011-2012. Currently she is an Assistant Professor at Auburn University where she lives with her family and their dog, Bishop (named after Elizabeth, of course).


One of Library Journal's "Thirty Amazing Poetry Titles for Spring 2014"

"Keetje Kuipers' poems are daring, formally beautiful and driven by rich imagery and startling ideas." --Tracy K. Smith

"Quietly ferocious, The Keys to the Jail is full of love and after-love poems that come clad with 'bell[ies] of rusted steel.' These poems are not afraid to feel, not afraid of desire or beauty or the inevitability of their respective undoings, not afraid 'to eat the filter on the cigarette.' Yet there is such generosity here in the 'repenned' landscape - out among the wolves and ghosts, the rodeo queens and Dairy Queens -that we are allowed to glean from hunger, a form of contentment, and still welcome the cavernous desire for more." --Elyse Fenton

"In these poems, longing is only shaped like emptiness, but really is filled with everything one might reach toward or put their mouth to as they sate themselves on desire. The Keys to the Jail are what they promise to be, an opening of the dark rooms within us, not to escape but to enter, to let the eyes adjust and learn to see what bright wants exist there." --Natalie Diaz

"As a whole, the poems in The Keys to the Jail are bittersweet and tenderly defiant. As art, these poems both estrange and fulfill us. They leave us aching with the desire to overcome the want and sadness of the darker aspects of existence." -The Journal

"Kuipers is a keeper ... Readers will feel the impassioned yet controlled energy that is lifted from these poems; fearless and possessing a precise sense of timing, -Kuipers's work keeps us reading." -The Library Journal

Her poems about love between women can be her strongest, and her identities complex ... her sense of place serves her sense of how people behave. Fans of Mark Doty, or of Eavan Boland will find a lot here to like, especially once they get past the predictable breakup poems, into the verse about self-discovery, lust pursued or affection found, where the poet exclaims, 'hope is the saddest/ secret of all: Please, be wild for me.'"-Publishers Weekly