Curating the House of Nostalgia
by Kersten Christianson
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KERSTEN CHRISTIANSON is the author of Something Yet to Be Named (Kelsay Books, 2017) and What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018). Her poetry has published in Camas Magazine, San Pedro River Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Whiskey Island, The Northern Review, and elsewhere, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat in Dyea. She is the poetry editor of Alaska Women Speak. Kersten holds an MFA in Creative Writing and the Literary Arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. By career, she is a secondary English teacher. She lives by the tides in Sitka, Alaska, where she raises her daughter, tracks the moon, walks among ravens, and makes a dash across the border to the Yukon any chance she’s given.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Curating the House of Nostalgia is a collection of poems grounded in far-flung settings: Alaska, Yukon, Newfoundland. They weave along stretches of pitted road, open spaces, and the interior landscapes of unforeseen circumstances. The words gathered here take inventory of and classify what remains in the shadow of unfathomable loss. They consist of clutter and scree, the scrim of love and bereavement. They are fragments of love letters written to spirit, mailed to a general delivery address in a northern wilderness town, a drop off point for backcountry adventures, and disappearances. These poems germinate cottonwood seed within dark, silent stillness to eventually drift, way-find, and channel what goodness remains. Christianson’s latest work is an offering of Rooibos tea, the tinny of a windchime, the harsh mew of a red-breasted sapsucker, and ultimately a reflection on how to carry on.
As the title promises, this collection invites the reader into the complicated process of arranging while letting go. Through the imagery and cultural associations of The North, with its attending solitude, pain, and spectacular sense of connection to the earth, Christianson explores our human place on the planet with rare lyric precision and grace. These are poems that simultaneously heal and break us apart. What a gift, to enter Christianson’s work and be transformed. ~ Caroline Goodwin, author of Custody of the Eyes and The Paper Tree
There are not many of the untamed ones left… Hang on to the skirt of this dervish poet as she whirls words into worlds, teases you with black holes, quartz crystals and islands of disappearing husbands, and, just when your feet take flight, Kersten upturns you into an earth of mind-numbing beauty. This is the curation of a wild mind, any wild mind…with a longing at its heart. ~ Dr. Carol Lee Birrell, artist, writer and poet
Reading Kersten Christianson’s poems in Curating the House of Nostalgia is like discovering an earthen pot filled with treasures on a windowsill. Look, there’s a moose jawbone and piece of tumbled driftwood. The poems reveal an intimate awareness of the dim shadows of loss and grief, the whimsy of a turquoise kitchen, and the natural world of a black bear grazing on dandelions. At once, delightful and aching. ~ Vivian Faith Prescott, author of Silty Water People