Day 18: Poetry collection tells of the journey to ‘loving companionship’

Each day leading up to the April 13 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2013 Poetry Finalist:

Salt Pier by Dore KiesselbachSalt Pier by Dore Kiesselbach
Published by University of Pittsburgh Press
Category Sponsor: Wellington Management, Inc.

Emotionally direct and visually all alike in column-shaped free verse, the poems in this debut collection open up to show startling verbal skills, intellectual depths, and sensory complications. Marital love in the present, what looks like abuse in the past, the cycle of green growing things, the cold of the north, and the warmth of the animal world all inform these investigations of confession and its discontents, of commitments given and withheld, sometimes through stark life story but more often, in a wonderful involution, through symbols contemplated at short remove.

Excerpt from Salt Pier:


I bring my mother to the green
conservatory grounds.
She stands on a peastone path
between water feature
and low pine and sniffs the air.
Her eyes are closed,
there’s a fragrance
in the wind she wants
to single out and savor,
a curve of scent
that begins elsewhere
and ends elsewhere.
Has nothing yet
Been planted
or has nothing
yet appeared?
Joy’s bolted
In her face to sorrow
like a pair of shears.

Dore Kiesselbach

Dore Kiesselbach described his book, Salt Pier as “a hypothesis about the capacity of language to gain traction on experience in such a way that memory blossoms and judgment is made whole.” He was raised in California and studied English and creative writing at Oberlin College and at the University of Iowa, where he held a Javits fellowship. He has published widely, in magazines such as the Antioch Review, Field, New Letter, and Poetry. In 2009, he won Britain’s Bridport Prize. He lives in Minneapolis.


“I have followed, with pleasure, Dore Kiesselbach’s sinuous poems for several years. Some of them remind me of pythons wrapped around a tree limb above a riverbank. Those make me nervous. Others remind me of a favorite shirt, a shirt one will never relinquish, never. His poems, each one a tiny defibrillator, are a wonder.” — Thomas Lux

“As the diver beholds ‘a moon dissolved in salt,’ so we behold the world transformed in these elegant, rigorous, unsparing poems by Dore Kiesselbach. With the problem-solving logic of syntax, a turkey falls dead from a tree, the duelist’s bullet turns a pocket watch to shrapnel, a stepfather works his world of harm. Morally acute and musically distillate, this is a book to celebrate.” — Linda Gregerson

Read five more selections from the book here. (PDF)

Award winners will be announced at the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Hilton Minneapolis. An author meet-and-greet and book signing reception precedes the awards ceremony, and the Epilogue after-party, sponsored by Tech Logic, includes complimentary champagne, desserts, and live music. Tickets on sale now. Click here for more information.

Have you read Salt Pier? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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Posted in Poetry

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