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Poetry. Women's Studies. Kearney draws on her acute powers of observation, a lively curiosity, and her gift for gorgeous imagery to take us on a journey of personal exploration, discovery, and reconciliation. Surprising poems bring together the parallel but discreet worlds of humans and birds, which speak to each other across the gulf between them. With a knowledge of birds and their behavior sufficient to satisfy even the most demanding birder, but never alienating the casual observer, with wit, musicality, and her unflinching eye, Kearney gives us a page-turner we want never to end, its subject being the work in progress which is life and its abundant mysteries.
This book goes well beyond a metaphoric treatment of birds and their habits. Instead, their differing characteristics comprise a jumping-off point for a mythology of selfhood--a lens through which to examine and confront a personal history. The catalog of birds illustrates how happenstance and speculation determine who she is. Untranslatable and mysterious as any mythology, a various history of a changeable self accumulates in these inventive, charged, and often ecstatic poems. Meg Kearney's poems both delight and complicate--at heart a spirit as unknowable and evocative as the birds themselves.--Cleopatra Mathis
Against the backdrop of her parents' death, the trauma of the Towers, and pervasive self-doubt, a young woman traces her history of flight, offering a narrative of heartbreak spliced with humor and filtered through the raucous assemblages of birds which inhabit her, 'singing in the cage my bones make.' If birds provide music ('She just likes to say grackle, a crack-your- / knuckles, hard-candy word') and spiritual sustenance ('the soul is a sparrow'), they also allow the narrator to negotiate her habitat: 'Bird seed--it's in your hair, / my mother said, reaching for me.' Meg Kearney has crafted a dazzling book of personal transformations, moving and memorable.--Michael Waters