Come Late to the Love of Birds by Sandra Kasturi

Come Late to the Love of Birds by Sandra Kasturi, published by Tightrope Books, is a well-crafted collection about love and freedom from the bonds of illusion.  Kasturi uses bird imagery to explore ancient fairy tales and stories from the ill-fated flight of Icarus to songs like Sing a Song of Sixpence and the blackbirds confinement in a pie.  She takes these long memorized stories and songs and turns them upside down, revealing the twists and turns that these stories could have taken in a modern world.

From "The Evolution of Birds" (page 17)

birds knew of our coming;
could sense our soft limbs millennia ahead,

could sense our drab colours and dull teeth,
our nothing lives.

They dropped their scales, made themselves small,
grew into winged things, soft and bright,

Beyond these twists and turns, Kasturi also plays with the notions in the bird kingdom and the simplicity of their lives — categorizing things into those with and without wings and nothing more. In “One Red Thought,” the red-tailed hawk and the narrator encounter one another, with the narrator questioning, “He must be/tethered to something/because why would a hawk/sit so still, why would/a hawk let me creep/close as a cat, me/” and then realizing “For him–/there are no/cameras or shoes,/there are no ornamental/gardens or lawn gnomes/or pants that need to be ironed.// There are only winged things/and non-winged things.// Only himself and the sky,/the curve of the earth/tilting how he wills it.//  There is the simplicity of the encounter, coupled with the encounter during which the narrator finally understands the reality of the hawk’s world.

From "Crucible" (page 49)

I am curled under piecrust like a blackbird, trapped.
salted and basted and oven-ready.
The kitchen clock's tick settles around me--
keeping time over what's burned or broken.

Salted, basted and oven-ready
I've become claustrophobic and butter-heavy.
Keeping time over what's burned or broken,
my fingers push and dimple the roof.

Each of these poems surprises the reader either once or repeatedly, and Kasturi’s sensitive handling of birds and human motivations alike are musical and magical. With poems rendering a clear relationship between humans and birds to those that draw hopes and dreams from birds in flight and in trees, the collection also has poems dedicated to Bradbury and Neil Armstrong. Come Late to the Love of Birds by Sandra Kasturi is wondrous and lively, full of wit and cunning, and utterly beautiful with each verse and turn of phrase.

About the Poet:

Sandra Kasturi is a writer, publisher, book reviewer and Bram Stoker Award-winning editor. She is the co-owner of the World Fantasy Award-nominated press, ChiZine Publications. She managed to snag an introduction from Neil Gaiman for her previous poetry collection, The Animal Bridegroom (Tightrope Books). She lives in Toronto with her husband, writer and publisher Brett Alexander Savory.

This is my 13th book for the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013.



This is my 22nd book for the 2013 New Authors Challenge.




Click the image below for today’s National Poetry Month blog tour post!


  1. Loving birds as much as I do, I wonder if I would feel a connection!

  2. You know I’m not big on poems with nature imagery, but I’m a bird fan, so I’d be interested in this one.

  3. I’d try this one because I love the title and the cover – yep, that’s how shallow I am.

  4. Thanks for introducing me to this volume!

  5. I love the idea of this, birds are such a great source of metaphor. The excerpts you’ve shared appeal to me as well. Definitely going to look this one up.

    • I think you’d enjoy this collection and the metaphors of birds in it, but also the wider play with fairytales and well known songs, etc.

  6. Oh, these are wonderful! This is a collection I am definitely going to look for.

  7. I don’t read a lot of poetry but this collection might be one I could relate to.

    • I really think that you’d enjoy this one. I loved it, and I don’t keep track and enjoy birds as much as you do.