Kate Schapira’s The Soft Place
by Jen Tynes
About this book, Kazim Ali writes: “In her essay A Poetics of Generosity: Strange Female Beasts/Chimeras from Outer Space poet Judith Johnson calls for a poetry of community that has “a total commitment to possibility, for which techniques or methods are simply different forms of lens” to share energy and creativity between the reader and the writer. In The Soft Place Kate Schapira commits herself to a human lyric–tender, fierce, feminist, funny. It is a book with many questions and a grand and kind intelligence with which–in a dozen different ways–to begin to answer them. Generosity is the guiding principle in these poems full of what Johnson calls for: “community, relationship, interactivity, and performance.”
Eleni Sikelianos writes: “In my mind, The Soft Place makes traces around what works to keep us together or keep us going: kindness, stitches (“this inner thing is mine”), seeds, family lines, and the symmetries and asymptotes therein. With intimacy and intelligence, Schapira reminds us of those mirrors (between us and us, us and others or lovers, us and the wound or the world) that sometimes hold together, sometimes shatter: “Nature doesn’t mirror us, but it senses us.” She holds the shards between pictures up to each other in reciprocity, responsiveness; that is to say, she holds it together.”
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