The poems in Katharine Coles’s Flight playfully engage the spiritual and natural worlds through the human constructs of science, art, philosophy, and history.
Thoughtful and intelligent, the poems in Flight are still fully embodied, rooted entirely in the senses, and extending Coles?s ongoing examination of the big questions: What is the relation of art and science? What are the potentials and limitations of perception and intuition? And never least, What does all this tell us about our capacity for love and pleasure? These poems are deeply engaged with the pleasures of the sensuous, treating thought itself as a sensual activity, as a kind of passion in its own right. William Carlos Williams said, “No ideas but in things”; Coles seems to want to assert that there is no thing: moon, bat, moth, dog, beloved husband, that will not give rise to ideas, and, very often, to pleasure at the same time. More than anything, pleasures are what the poems seek to create and enact; the pleasures of the flesh, yes; and of the mind that is also of the flesh, and that is so present in the poems.
“There is a remarkable worldly ease to the poems of Katharine Coles’s new collection, Flight. Travel always focuses ones powers of observation, but Katharine Coles always bring to her work a naturalists powers of precise discriminationher poems are both acute and visionary in their perceptions. Whether writing poems of love to her husband or to the beings around her, Katharine Coles finds a way to make our world new for us, again and again.”—David St. John
“‘Who says there is no magic in the world?’ writes Katharine Coles in Flight, her stunning new collection of poems. Within these pages you will find a cabinet of luminous wonders, gathered and deftly arranged by a master wordsmith and explorer of ancient worlds, hidden caves, and the intricacies of the human heart. This is an extraordinary book.”—Mira Bartok, author of The Memory Palace
“From the Pancake batfish to the pocket inside the pocket, Katharine Coles collects exotica and renders it part of the interior landscape. She’s after beauty and collects images, objects, forms, words that catch the mind and tongue. And to what end? Hers is not an art of mere accumulation but of creating spaces that accommodate complexity without sacrificing love for the world and for, well, the lover. . . . Poetry is a means to see what kinds of minds our time is creating. This one, suffused equally with song and science, clarity and multiplicity, shows just what kind of wonderful instrument poetry can be for fine-tuning consciousness, for being true to the tension between the limits and reach of knowledge.”—Alison Hawthorne Deming