poem for the house | Katie Yates
Doorframes and daily “cutting into” breathlessness are the architecture of Katie Yates’ poem for the house. Lyric transport happens. Yates offers mustard balm, a humid room, her hand hesitating longer-than-necessary. These portals open and open then open again. Into what exactly? Human hearts. Unlawful lakes. Rest. Motion is choreographed with mental acuity and earnest generosity. This is a book to read to still oneself. This is a book to read to propel oneself. Yates offers a forgiving dock on which to anchor or launch. With tempered insistence, this poetry binds a child to her parents, a lover to another, danger to song. What accrues is an expansiveness that exceeds any room—a presence. A conference of birds. Hum along.
Katie Yates' writing is like pigment in a pool of water. Held in suspension, nudged along by brush or by gravity, her words bite the page in unexpected, unrestrained formations, settling strangely, impossibly luminous, as they dry. There are few writers I can think of whose work so evokes this liquid spread and illumination of thought. poem for the house is an act of insistent observation, startling to both Yates and to ourselves, where "household" is a two-way microscope focused unsparingly on the many embodiments of inopportune, unrelenting desire. The desire of mothers, the desire of others, and the desire of "us." Yates holds the highest place on my list of writers whose work makes me hungry for more. poem for the house is a book I'll be reading for the rest of my life.
poem for the house is a metered (en)gauging elaboration in its simple resonances. This is a scenario tracing tensions between give and take, and both coexist in Yates' given and make approach, as she registers what away sweeps her, pinging at weaknesses (as well as strengths and murky spiritual areas in between). Each page and poem becomes a structure un-encased by undulations in love and life. Blurring lines between what's real and what's metaphoric, Yates embraces confusion to avoid the complexity of personal history, but finding ends up finding it nonetheless. She writes poems that open up a place with connective lenses usable by anybody who cares to consider correspon- dences between location and distance, familiarity and the exotic.