In Any of These Towns
by Stephanie Kendrick
ISBN: 979-8-9855242-5-3 $14.00
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STEPHANIE KENDRICK is the author of Places We Feel Warm (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2021), editor of “Periodical Poetry.” With a Masters of Social Sciences from Ohio University, she is the Major Unusual Incident Compliance Coordinator at the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She serves as a Village Councilwoman in Albany, Ohio, where she lives with her phenomenal husband and their talented son. On any given day, you might find her binging on trash TV, hiking through the hills of Athens, or training jiu-jitsu. Her poems have appeared in Sheila-Na-Gig online, Gyroscope Review, Northern Appalachia Review, Poets Reading the News, Still: The Journal, and elsewhere. Visit her website to check out more of her work, and upcoming events at stephthepoet.org.
ABOUT THE BOOK: In Any of These Towns explores the quirky underbelly of small-town America. The poems in this collection navigate the hardships that many river, coal and factory towns face as industry has packed up and moved on. Characters based on real people appear throughout to inject color and humanity into the darkness that inevitably seeps into the poems. Children pop in and out to remind us of their usefulness; and personal accounts of lived experiences offer a balance to the surreal atmosphere present throughout. The neglect and destruction that the places and people of this book have survived provide fertile ground for the kind of hope and resilience that’s lurking within each page.
This is a book that is in sync with the dystopian zeitgeist of our times. There is both overt and hidden loathing and decay. Her towns are menacing, at times savage. Yet, Kendrick writes with compassion and offers hope in the form of the children who speak a “secret language of change / away from waxing-moon ears of grownups.” These children are seed-gatherers who find beauty in what’s discarded. The poems both elegize and prescribe.
–– Betsy Mars, editor at Gyroscope Review,
author of In the Muddle of the Night, co-written with Alan Walowitz.
Stephanie Kendrick scatters seeds and sows a village of broken and hopeful souls into the soil of this collection. Each poem bears its bitter fruit, offered up to us to savor with all the loving complexity that we have come to hunger for from such an earnest and thoughtful poet. “Grip them tight with ancestral hands, / pull apart until the bones sing shatter, and open / your eyes. This is where the world begins.”
–– Jonie McIntire, author of Semidomesticated, winner of
Red Flag Poetry’s 2020 chapbook contest