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Red Dragonfly Press releases Athena Kildegaard's new book of poems

Posted by Elaine Simonds-Jaradat on Sunday, Apr. 10, 2011


Athena Kildegaard, poet and University of Minnesota, Morris lecturer, will celebrate the release of her new book, Bodies of Light, at two readings in Morris on Monday, April 11, and Thursday, April 14, 2011. Both are free and open to the public.

The April 11 reading, titled “Inspiration . . . Perspiration . . . Publication,” in the Briggs Library McGinnis Room on campus at 7:30 p.m. will also feature UMM creative writing students reading work written during the annual All Night Write scheduled for Friday, April 8.

On April 14, Kildegaard will be joined by musician William Pelowski at the Common Cup Coffee House. The reading is in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Prairie Renaissance Cultural Alliance. The meeting opens at 6:30 p.m. and the reading/performance will begin at 7 p.m.

“The book is divided into two sections, ‘Tenant’ and ‘Transit,’ Kildegaard explains, “and takes as its fundamental metaphor the fact that light from some stars reaches us long after the star itself has imploded. Poems in the first section focus on the body, on permanence and poems in the second focus on movement, the ephemeral.”

These two terms could also describe Kildegaard’s life. Poems in this collection are the imagined chronicle of her peripatetic lifestyle and love of writing outdoors. Reflecting the impressions left by all the places in which she has lived, “this book has poems written in Mexico, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Denmark, and prairie pothole country.”

Settled for the last decade in Morris, Kildegaard often takes her notebook out to the wetlands. She also writes whenever she has “a quiet space of time” and does “a fair amount of writing in my head, thinking the poem or revising the poem, as I go about some mundane business [like] driving, walking, folding laundry.”

Kildegaard will be available for book signings at both readings. And her message for buyers of her book is that “more than anything, I want the reader to share in my own sense of reverence for and reverie in the world and the stories that grow out of our world.”

Bodies of Light is Kildegaard’s second book published by the independent Minnesota press Red Dragonfly Press. The cover features a painting by Michael Eble, UMM associate professor of studio art. Poems from Bodies of Light have appeared widely in such journals as Mid-American Review, Tar River Poetry, The Malahat Review, Cream City Review, and elsewhere.

In her next book Kildegaard explores matters of the heart. She wrote a love poem every day during 2010 and is now readying the manuscript for publication by Nodin Press in time for Valentine’s Day 2012 or 2013.

Kildegaard is a recipient of grants from the Lake Region Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board.