Anna V. Q. Ross plumbs motherhood, migration, childhood, and the cycles of violence and renewal that recur in each. These are poems of math homework and police sirens, where a fox pops out of a fairy tale to dig up the back yard, NPR News spirals the evening carpool into memories of girlhood and trauma, and a city gas leak conjures xenophobic backlash against refugees. In poems of reclamation and warning, Flutter, Kick brings us to the center of our world—a place where “in those days, we were fast and best, but didn’t know it”—with a compassion learned of anger, memory, and joy.
“Anna V. Q. Ross’s finely wrought poems reveal a world where nurture is stacked against disaster, where nothing—not the children in their ‘flocks of black and yellow / school buses,’ not the fire-prone ‘lodgepole pines that have perfected leaving’—is spared a keen awareness of how an ending could come at any time. With acute attention and insight, Ross writes of stewardship and sustenance, of violence and vulnerability; her poems are unafraid to ask what can’t be answered and unapologetic in their insistence that there is no space for the tender that doesn’t also include the tough.”—Natalie Shapero, author of Popular Longing
“In this extraordinarily tender, brutally honest collection, Anna V. Q. Ross’s Flutter, Kick explores the fullness of life while harnessing poetry’s ability to examine the past. This feminist voice not only marvels and reveals, but also hums, channels, witnesses, and affirms. Ross navigates the waters of motherhood and memory, tempers regret with resoluteness, and does so with soft rhymes and language that lifts off the page. She observes small moments to discover big truths. Flutter, Kick is a fine-spun, insightful work of art that is eloquent, revelatory, and self-aware.”
—January Gill O’Neil, author of Rewilding
“In Flutter, Kick, Ross focuses her sharp description, taut lyricism, and vigilant gaze at the world around her with a kind of double-attentiveness, attuned to the beauties and pleasures of everyday life, nature, and motherhood while remaining acutely aware that danger, tragedy, or loss can intrude at any moment—‘not if, but when.’ ‘Somewhere nearby / the sharp-shinned hawk is circling,’ some peril is rising up in the neighborhood or within the self, or some atrocity is being committed on the other side of the world, where ‘someone else’ is suffering. This dark knowledge is both a burden and—especially after the speaker learns to ‘give up fear’—a blessing that deepens the many moments of joy and human connection that this book offers.”—Jeffrey Harrison, author of Between Lakes and 2020 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award Judge