Kathryn Kysar

From her Saint Paul kitchen to the historical shores of Lake Superior, from a rock outside of Bagdad to a clothing factory in Guangdong, Kathryn Kysar constructs and reconstructs a world in poems that confront our false sense of safety and explore the inequities and fissures in women's lives.
"The spirited poems in Kathryn Kysar's Pretend the World radiate a lyric vitality as they explore the world of nature, motherhood, sexuality, and celebrate the lost bounty of the past."
 ~ Dorianne Laux, author of
Smoke and What We Carry

"In Kathryn Kysar's poems, culture and history become an umbilical cord burrowed deep into Midwestern soil, spiraling and reemerging, literally, in China. These are poems that merge landscape and interiority to re-inspire life. What results is a voice strong and delicate as a nexus of white tree branches mid-winter, emanating poem after gorgeous poem that in total whisper like wind over land and water the constant reminder: "we are all learning to leave." Profound, wise, playful, Kysar is a rare and amazing poet. A beautiful, awesome book of graces to be wildly celebrated."
~Ed Bok Lee, author of 
Real Karaoke People and Whorled 

“There is little pretense in Kate Kysar ‘s
Pretend the World.   Rich with personal and family memories, the poems are gifts of the human spirit that come alive through the intimate particulars of a life fully lived.”
~Jim Heynen, author of
The Boy’s House and Standing Naked

“In poems that “tick from her tongue,” Kathryn Kysar skillfully weaves the personal with the political. I’m thinking of pieces like “Cutting Bread” and “Playing with Planes,” but also  “the weight of war   in a mother’s heart.” This is a sure lyric voice rooted in the Midwest, but also the world at large. In language both precise and vivid (“Exactness is [her] prayer”), we experience “soft, tendril-like bones” and watch as “[c]rimson curls a leaf’s edge.”
Pretend the World brings to mind, but with a twist, that Whitmanic ethos: who touches this [book], touches a woman.”
~Francisco Aragón, author of
Puerta del Sol and Glow of Our Sweat

“Balancing the delicate acts of loving and grieving, Kathryn Kysar microscopes the world of modern woman/motherhood. Kysar’s ability to politicize parenting and gender offer a gripping but blunt way of seeing the lives we create, the wars we wage, the things we consume, and the connections we make without overbearing sentimentality or righteousness. Pretend the World is a searing testament to being a mother in a world filled with monsters.”
~Marina Carreira, Poetry Foundation

“Kathryn Kysar’s collection of poems heaves with the natural world, motherhood, war, and rock n’ roll. The gems in this collection are plenty and shiny. Kysar is one of those writers who effortlessly links the natural world to current events – which is something extremely difficult to do effectively without sounding contrived. In her poem “Last October,” she writes: “The goose, fat and / heavy at the lake’s edge, / is the weight of war / in a mother’s heart.” With simple grace, Kysar transitions to heavier and more controversial topics, adding a new level of perception to our surrounding great outdoors.”
~Melissa Wray, Hazel and Wrenn