“Three words emerge like a chant in Kitsune, Jessamyn Smyth’s extraordinary collection of poems: flame, sweetness, yes. Follow Smyth through these ashes, taste honey on the other side. Follow her with a yes that beats out of your ribcage. This is her gift to readers, the gift of her brutally beautiful “animal heart.” To read Kitsune is to follow a warrior woman through the wilderness, only to end up balanced on the tip of her spear.”
- Elizabeth Eslami, author of Bone Worship: A Novel
“If anything remains with us of the human-animal divide, Jessamyn Smyth’s Kitsune abolishes it at a bound. These poems inhabit the real, impossible ground where spirit and viscera entwine, embrace and rip asunder. Her words deliver their own best evidence of the “ferocity and intent; fire-like focus” that make this testimony of possession “consuming and dangerous exactly as you hope such things will be…” I have never encountered a more vivid, sustained, and profoundly lived-through literary work.”
Eric Darton, author of Free City, Orogene, Divided We Stand: A Biography of the World Trade Center, and Notes of a New York Son
“In Kitsune, Jessamyn Smyth writes about “something very like love/but harder to escape.” …Thank goodness for these poems, which guide us out of the worst kind of hurt and lead us toward what we really might need.”
- Camille Dungy, author of Smith Blue and Suck on the Marrow
First readers respond:
These are all so achingly beautiful. I can wrap myself in them and let them reflect or embody my own losses and hopes. The book has an icy heat, like a chisel splitting frozen wood, a glowing fire in an iron stove. Be warned: you can’t read a naked thing fully dressed.
- Nora Streed
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I made many, many doubling-backs over the especially exquisite and shattering parts, which is to say: just about all of it. It’s devastating. Completely ripped me up like almost nothing ever does. Yanked me from the get-go, and still has me in some kind of spell. It just spoke to me so immediately, all of it, speaking straight from marrow and cell so raw and real and muscular. Left my own emotional synapses in tangles. And sobbing.
- Michael Clark
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I love how Smyth played with the kitsune myth and turned it into something new/different. There’s a neat interplay between the slightly oblique vs. the personal; it speaks to random, total strangers in a beyond-useful way. It’s compelling. Hits the sweet spot in a way that resonates.
- Beth Lowe
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Finishing Line Press New Women’s Voices chapbook competition top ten
Advance copy / prepublication sales: Feb. 18 – Mar. 27
Release date: May 31, 2013