Rachel Kellum’s first chapbook, ah, is now available at Liquid Light Press.
What others are saying about ah:
“With lush language and vivid lyric, Rachel Kellum explores the many folds of silence—such sweet paradox! These are poems that open us, creating whole meadows in the mind. Intuitive, vulnerable, and surprisingly funny, ah invites us to slough our own layers and lean into quietude.”
“Rachel Kellum’s volume, ah, embodies precisely what its title promises. In these poems the author plays words against silence not only in sense, as emphasized by the very first poem “Where Words Wait,” but also in sound. She works in phrases that seem carefully measured for the breath, and which both connect to and depart from preceding phrases in a way that left me catching my breath. The poems compel the reader to seek an unlashing of the mind from superficial concerns, and to enjoy the resulting excursions, accepting the awkwardness when you return to focus on the corporeal, as in “Waking Into Sleep, Take Your Waking Slow.” The poems are airy and playful, supporting the relaxation they propose. Though these poems emerged from a particular year’s Buddhist meditation practice, they are commended by the author in the afterword not only to “Buddhist practitioners, but also anyone interested in engaging with the rich space of their own awareness.” Indeed the spiritual message in these poems is quite subtle and accessible, with the exception of “Sutra For Poets Who Would Be Buddhas,” where the author clearly had to get a few matters off her chest in order to ease back into the breathing. Even this brief turn in tone underscores the honesty of the collection overall. There are a few places in the poems where my ear was brought out of its ease by choices in word or phrase, but such is the effect of the whole that even such minor technical objections did not prevent my enjoyment of this volume, did not shatter the promised ah!”
“Rachel Kellum is a fine poet. Her lines dazzle, racing quicksilver across the page. But this book is less about craft’s elegant spigot and more the slow burn of shared realizations. From deep in her practice, Kellum’s poems walk barefoot over perfection’s hot embers, igniting the lyric kindling in us.”
~ Art Goodtimes, Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope
“In this beautiful group of poems, Rachel Kellum becomes her meditation practice lab. She allows herself to feel vulnerable and undo many of the usual modes of thinking. In fact, she connects, through the wonderful Bonpo Dzogchen teachings from Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, to her inner space, struggling with silence and the expressions of sound and words that manifest from it, and allows these writings to come as metaphors of her meditation experience. Sometimes she finds herself shining, other times entangled with her own words and thoughts. An honest account of her meditation practice, especially when she can look without bias between breaths. Among Rachel’s many wonderful words, I stay with these: Dry your tears. It isn’t in books. It is you. Sit….Then you become the sky book you read.”