"Ken Fontenot is one of the most original, moving poets in the world. I have treasured his work for years-his images startle us awake. His wisdom sears."-Naomi Shihab Nye, a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and author of TRANSFER "In Fontenot's In a Kingdom of Birds, I find exactly the kind of poems for which I am most grateful: poems self-aware enough to recognize that in all things exist both tragedy and light, but poems not so besotted with that conniving paradox to dwell too solemnly on it for too long. There's exquisite craft in knowing how to navigate those skies. And navigate them, he does, a bird himself in this kingdom of birds. For truly, everything does both fly and sing-the great gray owl, the swan of stretched legs, the panting sparrow, the quickening sparrow, the nighthawk, the black-throated grackle, the foraging doves. As well, the gnat that lands inside the poet's ear, the oscillating fan his grandmother keeps running for decades straight, and the loose, elusive presence of the ghosts of both the living and the dead: the strangely solid phantom forms of friends, relations, lovers, and authors that haunt the walls of this poetic house (to be sure, it is a just, benevolent, knowledge-weary haunting of which I speak). And too: the ghosts of those ghosts. 'Light has everything to do with pain, / and darkness has everything to do / with love, ' Fontenot writes. And later, 'the world is bleak, the world is glorious ... You go on filling your jar of hope with yet more hope.' These poems convince me that night is solely purposed for better viewing of the stars, and the stars' own shimmering brightness exists to remind us that an outer darkness sorely looms."-Jill Alexander Essbaum, Winner of the Katharine Bakeless Nason Poetry Prize
Ronald Thompson knows he never killed Nina Peterson... yet in two days the state of Connecticut will take his life, having found him guilty via due process of law. But Thompson's death will not stop the pain and anger of Nina's husband, Steve. Thompson's death will not still the fears of Nna's six-year-old son, Neil, witness to his mother's brutal slaying. Not even the love and friendship of Sharon Martin, a journalist who is slowly becoming a part of their world, will ever erase their bitter memories. Only time, perhaps, will heal their wounds. But in the shadows a stranger waits, a cunning psychopath who has killed before, who has unfinished business at the Peterson home...
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