For a couple struggling with infertility, conception is a war against their bodies. Blood and death attend. But when the war is won, and life stares, hungry, in the parents’ faces, where does that violence, anxiety, and shame go? The poems in Patter re-imagine miscarriages as minstrel shows, magic tricks, and comic strips; set Darth Vader against Oedipus’s dad in competition for “Father of the Year;” and interrogate the poet’s family’s stint on reality TV. In this, his third collection, award-winning poet Douglas Kearney doggedly worries the line between love and hate, showing how it bleeds itself into “fatherhood.”


“Where, oh where would we be without the dynamic intelligence and feats of lyric daring that Douglas Kearney’s work has delivered to American poetry? The poems in Patter run back and forth through the realms of private interiority, popular culture, and the vast public arena of history, all the while re-inventing what the poetic line is capable of bearing and baring. Completely and un-ironically alive with genuine feeling, these are poems that are not afraid to say and show how we matter to one another.”—Tracy K. Smith

“Because bodies matter, name, beget and conceive, Douglas Kearney’s Patter exists within the stall, the break, the miscarriage in bodies bothered by history, blood and breath. What is it to father the inchoate and the ineffable that exists in the life of the black family? Kearney’s exquisite poems dissolve our sight, force us to speak aloud, and compel us to hunt and find within the illogic logic of our lives. Patter is its own genius music—revolutionary, intimate and everyone’s.”—Claudia Rankine

Douglas Kearney ( Author Website )

Publication Date: March 1, 2014

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-580-8

Download the Press Kit Here


Douglas Kearney is a California Book Award Finalist!

Yesterday, The Commonwealth Club announced the finalists of this year's California Book Awards, and we are delighted that Douglas Kearney's poetry collection, Patter, is a finalist for the poetry award! […]


Patter is a top pick for Coldfront!

Coldfront Magazine recently revealed their top 40 poetry books of 2014, and we are thrilled that Douglas Kearney's excellent collection, Patter, is on the list! Here's what Coldfront's Diana Arterian […]

Douglas Kearney’s Striking New Collection

The Rumpus gives high acclaim to Douglas Kearney's new poetry collection, Patter. The review applauds Kearney's vibrancy in his style, voice, and passion. Sean Singer writes, "The most striking aspect […]