"Grief, as we all know, is a country without borders, without laws. In her stunning first collection, Eleanor Kedney speaks to it in a language of metaphor, of love and loss, a language of 'howl, full throttle, singing the way children sing / before they learn not to.' These brave, forthright poems deal with a lost, addicted brother, an absent father, a mother making do with a fate as 'thin and papery as moth wings.' Her true subject is pain and the solace of poetry in dealing with it. Indeed, 'the wind is a dangerous thing,' as is the courage it takes to observe and take note of the beautiful colors of 'a cold and long white sky.' There is magic in these poems, the magic of the imagination used to make remedy and comfort out of the pain of loss. A bravo performance, in so many important ways."
—Philip Schultz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
"Between the Earth and Sky is a wonderful book about vibrant, generous grieving. As Eleanor Kedney looks toward nature to mourn her parents and her brother, we see these complicated, pained people in a millipede, a lizard, a particular bleeding tree, and their absence blooms. When we commune with Kedney's keen images, it’s as though we, too, are being visited. We feel what has been lost and what remains because we’re with a master of unvarnished elegy, of the “ungroomed silences” that punctuate our days, of a gravel-throated lyricism. These are truly good poems about nature, addiction, devotion, forgiveness; about what we do to gather ourselves together and, although diminished, sing."
—David Wanczyk, editor of New Ohio Review
"In these pages, Eleanor Kedney has given language to a deep confrontation with despair and turned it into something generous and rewarding for readers. How do we make sense of who we are? What other lives shimmer beneath our skin? How do we understand our dead? Kedney answers these questions (and more) with the tenacity and precision of an alchemist. And like any good purveyor of magic, she reveals a map to elicit all that is both holy and profane. She reminds us that if we are awake to music, to wonder, our words will allow us to talk to all that remains inerrable. I read this book and was strangely transformed, alive to ‘lifted bones, returned to emptiness.’ "
—Juliet Patterson, winner of the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize
"Eleanor Kedney’s Between the Earth and Sky takes an unflinching look at life, and the hard facts of death. . . . This is poetry of absolute clarity that cherishes each incident, memory, and simple detail that together choose life—despite all the losses—and lets it sing."
In Eleanor Kedney’s Between the Earth and Sky, a brother’s heroin addiction is at the center of a family where love is difficult to accept from one another, yet it is the thing that delivers understanding and forgiveness to a sister who bravely carries the family legacy.
"The Offering does something very hard to do, and therefore special: it embraces grief without succumbing to it. Eleanor Kedney has written a very brave and bracing book, lively with lyrical energy and keen intelligence. There’s a quiet beauty of place here, too, and the love and nature poems are quite moving. What a fine, endearing debut! "
~Philip Schultz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry
"Eleanor Kedney’s poems constantly surprise the reader with flashes of sheer intelligence and attention to language. While her spirited work no doubt engages the intellect, these are also poems of the body and the voice; this book never disappoints. The sensuality of The Offering is unavoidable and ultimately joyous. There is a music here that sings and rings and lingers in the mind "
~Juliet Patterson, winner of the Nightboat Books Prize
"Like the 'the yellow caterpillar / I hold in my palm that will turn / into a Hummingbird Moth' Eleanor Kedney’s poems in this wonderful collection take flight from everyday experiences to reveal the unusual, which is to say a unique vision—which is why we come to poetry in the first place. Blending family with larger issue, these poems proceed with an intuitive blend of metaphors that stretch across narrative, meditative and dramatic setting and blending sometimes a technical, sometimes a colloquial language. Vision as eyesight—and these are very well observed settings—become visions in the visionary sense time and again, offerings as the title suggests that bring us to a passionate understanding of a world where nature and human nature echo one another. "
~Richard Jackson, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellow, and winner of five Pushcart Prizes
"It's a beautiful book! I am awed by its straightforward simplicity, which spins complex webs around sound, imagery, meaning, and multiple layers of experience."
~Josie Gallup, Poet
"Thank you for your book, The Offering. It has many subtle touches of grief as it arises in our everyday ongoing lives, but the settings for these emotions is beautiful. You address the regret we feel, and then so lightly suggest we "erase regret." Congratulations on this lovely collection."
~Judy Ray, Author of From Place to Place
~David Ray, Award winning poet and author
From the publisher, Liquid Light Press:
The Offering drills deeply into our most basic hopes and fears and offers us poetic redemption in superbly crafted form.
A masterful poetic tapestry woven from what makes us human, an offering of hard-won wisdom that is both personal and pervasive.