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Bourne Bridge, Poems by Alice Kociemba
Heirloom dishes that travel oceans, a favorite flannel shirt with a torn elbow, a mackerel sky foretelling change...Through such simple but telling details, these poems celebrate the ordinary moments of life that hold so much meaning. With a mixture of humor, poignancy, and keen insight, this collection pays tribute to the power of family, the influence of place, and the importance of relationships that, like the bridge in the title poem, provide the connections that sustain us.
"This book's apt title refers to the actual bridge from mainland Massachusetts to thearea on Cape Cod where Alice Kociemba lives. It also suggests the span of her poetry: a wryly-observed childhood, to which the loss of a parent is central, the loves and struggles of adult life, the ambiguous comforts of the natural world. Humorous, empathetic, meticulously observed, Kociemba's poems maintain an honesty, 'a cold knowing,' that shuns sentimentality. Yet by book's end her fine, painterly descriptions of nature, 'a cabbage-moth...its wings-white silence'; an overcast that 'splits into strands of mauve, salmon, rose,' bring the reader to her true destination, her bourne."-Susan Donnelly
"'Late August light is chiffon and shimmer,' Alice Kociemba writes in this book's exhilarating nal section. These texts of pleasure are hard-won; the rst two sections offer, in lean, uncompromising vignettes, a portrait of a hardscrabble Catholic upbringing in battered Boston, and show us why the speaker here might struggle to find faith in others or in herself, or in the possibility of shelter. But home, of course, is something both found and made. This poet's honest joy in the present's fleeting brightness-how we come, if we're lucky, into our own 'late August light'-makes it possible to perceive, in her concise and elegant poems, something like the shape of home."-Mark Doty
"Alice Kociemba's Bourne Bridge reckons with evanescence. These poems never forget that everything we cherish is always already eeting, that childhood and seasons do end, that love departs, that lives are lost in myriad ways. At the same time, and in their sculpted syntax, honed images, and lyric grace, these poems reveal an abiding buoyancy of spirit. It is a spirit that enables the poet to merge with morning's 'apple crisp air.' It helps her savor the 'salty shiver' of Eros. These poems show us, in other words, our often-surprising capacity to 'fall upward into wonder.' It is the capacity to hold on until the fog of suffering lifts, and we glimpse up ahead a bridge that just might take us home."-Fred Marchant
"These poems reflect, and reflect upon, the truth that reality at heart is never ordinary; the end of a small-town hardware store and its generous owner, rain on snow, the Cape Cod phrase (and sight of) 'a mackerel sky' are recalled and transformed here: 'glistening in pure light/ that's always there/ even when hidden.'"-Robert Pinsky
Using humor and memory to celebrate people and place, Alice Kociemba is the author of the chapbook Death of Teaticket Hardware, the title poem of which won an International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review. Her poems have also appeared in Avocet, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Comstock Review, International Psychoanalysis, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Plainsongs, Roanoke Review, Salamander, Slant, and The Write Place at the Write Time, and in the anthology Like a Girl: Perspectives on Feminine Identity. She was a featured poet in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of the Aurorean.
Alice is the founding director of the Calliope Poetry Series (www.calliopepoetryseries.com) at the West Falmouth Library, and since 2009 has facilitated a monthly Poetry Discussion Group at the Falmouth Public Library. She has also served as the Guest Editor of Volume III of the Cape Cod Poetry Review and the 2015 & 2016 editions of Common Threads, the poetry discussion project of Mass Poetry. She is the first poet to receive a Literacy Award from the Cape Cod Council of the International Reading Association for promoting literacy through poetry. When asked, "How did you get interested in poetry?" Alice credits Emily Dickinson with saving her sanity after she suffered a severe head injury in 1986 and couldn't read, drive or work for six months. Shortly thereafter, Alice wrote her first poem, "seizure," about her experience.
Born and raised in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, Alice now works as a psychotherapist in Falmouth, MA, where she lives in a house overlooking wetlands.
ISBN: 978-1625491749, 96 pages, $18