Somewhere in the Telling

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Many of the poems in this book deal with personal loss, displacement and trauma. The interconnected cultural, personal and aesthetic issues in the collection explore and address experiences of the heart and spirit and encourage critical thinking and constructive social action.


"Laurie Kuntz possesses the most important ingredients for an impressive body of poetry. She has depth of character, talent to spare, and a strong sense of the subjects which have chosen her. Thanks to her experience as a teacher of Southeast Asian refugees in the Philippines and Thailand, she has seen as few other Americans have the lingering human cost of our war in Indochina. Her experience has made her speak with empathy and compassion about the displaced lives she has encountered and has also caused her to struggle as sadly few American poets have with the most essential issues of history, politics, and the nature of survivorhood. Her writing is tough, direct, and eloquent in its spare precision, whether she is writing poems of autobiographical witnessing or monologues, and she has no patience with the sensationalism, solipsism, and easy pytrotechnics which hinder the work of so many of her generational peers. Somewhere in the Telling is a book for which we can be grateful." David Wojahn, Yale Series of Younger Poet Awards Winner; Winner of the William Carlos Williams Book Award; Recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships

"In the same incantatory way that folktales and legends transport and inform the listener, so do Laurie Kuntz’s poems deliver the reader to a magical, otherworldly landscape. Her enviable range includes the exotic, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Japan, as well as the familiar places like Brooklyn, but most deeply inhabits the universal locales of life’s larger mysteries, from the brief intimacy of a lover’s embrace to the fierce love in a mother’s heart." Jo-Ann Mapson, author of Hank and Chloe, and Blue Rodeo

"Laurie Kuntz has forged these poems through multiple eyes, multiple voices, to create a collection that brings the world well over any doorstep and into the thick of the heart. From Saigon to Sarajevo, from a grandmother surviving the Holocaust to a Vietnamese mother losing her children to the Khmer rouge, from children caught in a no-man’s land of bi-racial parentage to refugees plucked from their homeland to live in tenements surrounded by ‘the babel roll of English,” Kuntz reveals the hard facts and luminous courage behind lives ripped and only partially mended by the working of history. To say these poems are compassionate hardly does them justice, but they are, and in their beam we, the readers, encounter new depths to our own humanity." - Leslie Ullman, author of Dreams for No One’s Daughter, (Yale Series of Younger Poet Awards Winner); and Slow Work Through Sand (Winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize).

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