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Escape Velocity by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut and Giveaway

Source: Purchased
Paperback, 90 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

***full disclosure: Kristin is a member of my poetry writing workshop group***

Escape Velocity by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut forces you into motion with each poem, starting with “You Say We’re Like Magnets.” She illuminates the tension — the push and pull of magnetism — between lovers even if the relationship is not quite in sync. There’s a joy in the tension, the figuring out how pieces fit, how they push each other to grow, and so much more. Ferragut’s poems have a ton of depth, but they are equally smart, beautiful, and witty (with a bit of dark humor).

from "Intermittentamorous" (pg. 20)
...
Identifying as intermittentamorous is exhausting
The on and off, yin/yang, dream
of love versus hope of freedom.

Feels like a long practice to learn to be done,
a sigh and unplugging. Skin intact, space for sleep
and a nod to the vast possibilities in silence.

The first section focuses on reactions and the movement that results from those reactions. Ferragut’s poems are intimate and relatable, whimsical, and a spiraling kaleidoscope of science, love, frustration, and moving forward in life. “A Twenty-Four-Year-Old Getting Two Dozen Roses at Forty-Nine: A Dialogue with Myself,” is a delightful examination of aging and changing perspectives.

from "Drowning" (pg. 39)

What was the cause of death?
What is the difference? When
life is terminal and living on
                  so 
                          long.

Ferragut doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff of life; she meets it head on. “Escape and Loss” explores the sadness and regret that comes with the passing of family and friends. “Guilt hides beneath fingernails;/sorrow clings to laughs’ underbellies,/they will escape despite you./But you might leave regret…” (pg. 41) Her poems will turn the world upside down for you, force you to look through a new lens to find the beauty even in darkness. There is an undercurrent of joy and hope in her poems, and perhaps this is what gives her collection the velocity it needs to let readers escape into the real world and see it through Ferragut’s eyes.

Escape Velocity by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut is a journey through life but it’s a window into the darkness to find hope and a way forward when things don’t quite go according to plan. There’s magic in these pages, and I beg you to discover the worlds created in these poems.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Poet:

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut teaches, plays guitar, hikes, supports her children in becoming who they are meant to be, and enjoys the vibrant writing community in the DMV. She is author of the full-length poetry collection Escape Velocity (Kelsay Books, 2021) and the children’s book Becoming the Enchantress: A Magical Transgender Tale (Loving Healing Press, 2021). Her poetry has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Nightingale and Sparrow, Bourgeon, Mojave He[Art] Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fledgling Rag, and Little Patuxent Review, among others. Visit her website.

To Enter the Giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post with an email so I can contact you if you win a copy of Escape Velocity. Deadline to enter is Sept. 10.

Mailbox Monday #640

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has its own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Postcard Poems by Jeanne Griggs for review.

In days before selfies and social media, postcards were a ubiquitous feature of travel, providing both means of communication with friends and family while away, and souvenirs of journeys once back home.

Even if not quite gone, they seem more than a little nostalgic now, as do many of the poems in Jeanne Griggs’ new collection, Postcard Poems. By choosing to present her poems as short notes that could fit on a postcard, she has opted for a formal brevity; and the conceit of holiday communication allows her to write both about place (so that her poems are often both ekphrastic and epistolary – a neat trick) and about the people in her life.

Travel, of course, is always a journey through both exterior and interior spaces, physical and mental, and we witness both in these often wistful poems. A visit on Cape Cod with friends, “women of a certain age”, affords an opportunity to “live like in the books, / without any of the fuss / of having to sustain anything / except ourselves.” Children grow up over the span of these travels, despite her wishing she “had caged” them, holding onto the past. A third visit to Niagara Falls is the first without her son – “the first time / you were too young to remember / and the second too old to want / to come along” – who is now far off in Siberia on travels of his own. Iowa is a place equally exotic, known only “from watching a baseball movie / … until we left our daughter / there”, and they drive long out of the way to visit the Field of Dreams site, “And it was there, / just like we’d seen it, / in real life.” Stopping “South of the Border” she buys “picture postcards of this place on the way / to where we’re actually going.” That’s a good description of the mosaic of life that is constructed out of these brief notes, a chronical of stops along the way until, in the final poem, “all future plans suspended… / we are / still saving up from our last trip.”

Escape Velocity by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, a gift from a dear friend and fellow poet.

A courageous testament, lush with startling imagery, Kristin Kowalski Ferragut’s Escape Velocity focuses on the personal in order to illuminate the universal. “Truth leaves words in shambles,” Ferragut cautions us. Nevertheless, “All the days in this long life / fill with such wonder of / words . . .” With each poem standing on its own as a singular story, taken as a whole, this premier collection takes the reader on an Odyssey, unsettling at times, tender at others, through memory and loss, forward with strength and resilience to confront “This love of what grows wild flowers . . . erratic, uncertain, hard to stare down.” The laws of physics cannot constrain this poet’s quest; the reader will be rewarded for accompanying her on the journey. —W. Luther Jett, Author of Everyone Disappears, Our Situation, and Not Quite

“I challenge you to / Unzip your skin and see / if you make it to the West Coast. / Exactly.” In Escape Velocity , Kristin Kowalski Ferragut invites us to experience the moments that make a life with finely honed wording and well-crafted stanzas that awaken every sense, often in unexpected ways. With deep compassion, she delves into relationships with family, loves and loves lost, the joys and sorrows that come with the bits and pieces that make a life and give us our sense of where we are in the world, sprinkled with delectable moments of wry humor. This exquisite debut poetry collection takes us beyond our usual understanding of self and place in a “rare conversation that matters.” —Lucinda Marshall, Founder and Host of DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Author of Inheritance Of Aging Self

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut sends us “Whirling / in our individual little confoundations,” as she reconciles the collective discord we face. She shoulders such universal themes as grief, love, and grace in a uniquely flawless dance. In “Unbearable Lightness” she muses, “We anchor ourselves in burdens, lost causes . . . to keep from floating away.” In lines like this, Ferragut startles us from our safe repose to experience the jeopardy and promise of motion; to believe in second chances and in our ability to “put the blood back / in the stone.” —Alison Palmer, Author of The Need for Hiding

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #637

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Velvet, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

This is what we received:

Escape Velocity by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, which I purchased.

A courageous testament, lush with startling imagery, Kristin Kowalski Ferragut’s Escape Velocity focuses on the personal in order to illuminate the universal. “Truth leaves words in shambles,” Ferragut cautions us. Nevertheless, “All the days in this long life / fill with such wonder of / words . . .” With each poem standing on its own as a singular story, taken as a whole, this premier collection takes the reader on an Odyssey, unsettling at times, tender at others, through memory and loss, forward with strength and resilience to confront “This love of what grows wild flowers . . . erratic, uncertain, hard to stare down.” The laws of physics cannot constrain this poet’s quest; the reader will be rewarded for accompanying her on the journey. —W. Luther Jett, Author of Everyone Disappears, Our Situation, and Not Quite

“I challenge you to / Unzip your skin and see / if you make it to the West Coast. / Exactly.” In Escape Velocity , Kristin Kowalski Ferragut invites us to experience the moments that make a life with finely honed wording and well-crafted stanzas that awaken every sense, often in unexpected ways. With deep compassion, she delves into relationships with family, loves and loves lost, the joys and sorrows that come with the bits and pieces that make a life and give us our sense of where we are in the world, sprinkled with delectable moments of wry humor. This exquisite debut poetry collection takes us beyond our usual understanding of self and place in a “rare conversation that matters.” —Lucinda Marshall, Founder and Host of DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Author of Inheritance Of Aging Self

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut sends us “Whirling / in our individual little confoundations,” as she reconciles the collective discord we face. She shoulders such universal themes as grief, love, and grace in a uniquely flawless dance. In “Unbearable Lightness” she muses, “We anchor ourselves in burdens, lost causes . . . to keep from floating away.” In lines like this, Ferragut startles us from our safe repose to experience the jeopardy and promise of motion; to believe in second chances and in our ability to “put the blood back / in the stone.” —Alison Palmer, Author of The Need for Hiding

Where the Wolf  by Sally Rosen Kindred for review.

Sally Rosen Kindred’s third book, Where the Wolf, is a wood where a girl-turned-woman, a daughter-turned-mother, goes walking, searching for the warm fur, the hackles and hurts—past and future—inside her. These poems explore how stories—fairy tales, family memories, myths, and dreams—tell us, and let us tell each other, who we are, and what’s wild and sacred in our connections. From “the beast your mother made/ who scans hood and bed,” to the ghost-guard summoned by a child on the night her family fractures, to the teenage son who transforms into “beauty, his dread-body,” the beings in these poems are themselves stories, spells: alchemized through language, always becoming, bearing hope and loss. They fragment in anxiety, and form into new wilderness. They open themselves to reconstruction, redemption. Through it all, “Wolf is the ghost of a hurt remembering itself. Is She. You can hear Her between trees.” These poems are a calling out—through meadows, emptied houses, dark skies—to wolf and self, parent and child, girl and woman, love and grief.

What did you receive?

Becoming the Enchantress by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, illustrated by Coley Dolmance Ferragut & Giveaway

Source: Author/Publisher
Paperback, 34 pgs.
I am Amazon Affiliate

(full disclosure: Kristin Ferragut is part of my poetry workshop and I was part of a workshop that helped her hone this story)

Becoming the Enchantress by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, illustrated by Coley Dolmance Ferragut, uses fairy tale-like elements to explain transgender to younger children. It’s an introductory story to help start conversations with kids about large themes, but at it’s core, this is a story about feeling comfortable in your own skin, loving yourself, and finding acceptance and love in your own family and friends.

The Wizard and their children, the Knight and the Dragon, are getting ready to trick-or-treat. When kids and their parents meet the Wizard and their family, they see a loving family eager to celebrate Halloween together. But kids will hear that the Wizard has an unspoken desire. With a quick costume change, the Wizard and their children are out the door. They are laughing and playing and magical things happen.

The streets may be crowded, but they are having a great time together, especially the Wizard. They receive compliments from strangers about their well behaved children, but many of them mistake the Wizard for a mom. Ferragut has created a magical way in which a transgender person finds not only their identity but peace in their own skin.

The illustrations by Ferragut’s daughter are colorful and expressive. The smile on the Wizard will make children smile. It just exudes such happiness. The final scene in the book is beautifully rendered. I look forward to more of her work.

Becoming the Enchantress by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, illustrated by Coley Dolmance Ferragut, establishes a starting point for conversations about transgender and finding the home in your own skin and family. It will enable parents to talk to their children openly about their own identities.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Kristin Kowalski Ferragut is the author of the poetry collection Escape Velocity (Kelsay Books, 2021). She teaches, writes songs, poetry and prose, hikes, and participates in readings and workshops in Maryland, where she lives with her two creative, lively, and supportive children. Her work has appeared in Beltway Quarterly, Fledgling Rag, Bourgeon, Mojave He[Art] Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Little Patuxent Review, among others. For more information, visit her website: www.kristinskiferragut.com

About the Illustrator:

Coley Dolmance Ferragut is an animator, digital artist, and actor who investigates themes of class and social justice in her work. A high school senior, this is Coley’s first published book.

GIVEAWAY:

1 copy of Becoming the Enchantress to 1 U.S. reader.

Deadline to enter is June 15, 2021.

Leave a comment with your email so I can contact you if you’re the winner.

Mailbox Monday #626

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Forward: A Memoir by Abby Wambach from Audible.

Abby Wambach has always pushed the limits of what is possible. Named by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of 2015, the iconic soccer player captured the nation’s heart when she led her team to its recent World Cup championship. Admired for her fearlessness and passion, Abby is a vocal advocate for women’s rights and equal opportunity, pushing to translate the success of her team to the real world. She has become a heavily requested speaker to a wide a range of audiences, from college students to executives at Fortune 500 companies.

In Forward, Abby recounts her own decisions, wins, and losses and the pivotal moments that helped her become the world-class athlete and leader she is today. Wambach’s book goes beyond the soccer field to reveal a soulful person grappling with universal questions about how we can live our best lives and become our truest selves. Written with honesty and heart, Forward is an inspiring blueprint for individual growth and a rousing call to action.

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service by Gary Sinise, Marcus Brotherton from Audible.

As a kid in suburban Chicago, Gary Sinise was more interested in sports and rock ‘n’ roll than reading or schoolwork. But when he impulsively auditioned for a school production of West Side Story, he found his purpose – or so it seemed.

Within a few years, Gary and a handful of friends created what became one of the most exciting and important new theater companies in America. From its humble beginnings in a suburban Chicago church basement and eventual move into the city, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company launched a series of groundbreaking productions, igniting Gary’s career along with those of John Malkovich, Joan Allen, Gary Cole, Laurie Metcalf, Jeff Perry, John Mahoney, and others. Television and film came calling soon after, and Gary starred in Of Mice and Men (which he also directed) and The Stand before taking the role that would change his life in unforeseeable ways: Lieutenant Dan in the Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump.

The military community’s embrace of the character of the disabled veteran was matched only by the depth of Gary’s realization that America’s defenders had not received all the honor, respect, and gratitude their sacrifices deserve. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, this became Gary’s mission. While starring in hits like Apollo 13, Ransom, Truman, George Wallace, CSI:NY, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Gary has worked tirelessly on behalf of those who serve this country…entertaining more than a half-million troops around the world playing bass guitar with his Lt. Dan Band, raising funds on behalf of veterans, and founding the Gary Sinise Foundation with a mission to serve and honor America’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.

Becoming the Enchantress by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, illustrated by Coley Dolmance Ferragut from the publisher, which I’ll likely giveaway when I review Kristin’s book that she signed for me.

Becoming the Enchantress is the story of a transgender parent that faces personal longing for change. Given the acceptance and encouragement of her children, the parent magically transforms from a Wizard into an Enchantress on Halloween night. The story highlights themes of acceptance and the love between child and parent. Becoming the Enchantress is unique in that it is written for children whose parent is the one discovering their dysphoria and seeking reassignment, rather than that of the child or teenager themselves.

Becoming the Enchantress fills a heretofore neglected niche in children’s literature. It conveys the struggle of a parent to find, in this case, her true identity, and the children’s loving acceptance of it. It should prove a useful resource for families with a transgender or non-binary parent.

-W. Luther Jett, retired Special Educator, Montgomery County Public Schools, author of Our Situation and Everyone Disappears

Becoming the Enchantress is a beautiful story about a life-changing transition. It uses imagery that children can understand to discuss a difficult topic. The book details the emotions of someone who is learning how to be their true self. The story shows that while children may not fully understand the issue, they are accepting and are willing to love others for who they are. -Stacy Whipp, M.Ed.

A wonderful story for all ages of unconditional love and acceptance for people! Be true to who you are and love yourself and you will feel completely fulfilled. This story teaches us that no matter what, a person’s heart and soul is what defines them. -Katherine R Stull, LCSW-C

Becoming the Enchantress is a wonderful tale for anyone who has questioned their identity or has loved someone doing so. It treats the delicate subject in the most loving way possible, with gorgeous illustrations, spotlighting the magic that positive self-image and family acceptance can create. – Michelle Zibrat, Art Educator

I am both the parent of a trans child and a therapist that supports transitioning children, teens and adults. I love Becoming the Enchantress as it is a lovely story that explains the need to transition from your sex assigned at birth to your true self. Children will connect both with the Wizard and his family in this story. Using the experience of “trying on” a different persona is a lovely way to introduce the children to the wizard and the concept of transitions. -Theresa Fraser, CYC-P, CPT-S, NSCCT, MA, RP, Trauma and Loss Clinical Specialist

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #625

Mailbox Monday has become a tradition in the blogging world, and many of us thank Marcia of The Printed Page for creating it.

It now has it’s own blog where book bloggers can link up their own mailbox posts and share which books they bought or which they received for review from publishers, authors, and more.

Leslie, Martha, and I also will share our picks from everyone’s links in the new feature Books that Caught Our Eye. We hope you’ll join us.

Here’s what we received:

Thresholds and Other Poems by Matt Hohner for review in April.

Matt Hohner’s Thresholds and Other Poems is a poetry of loss, violence, beauty and love. In this collection, Hohner addresses the toll and joy of living, head-on and honestly. Facing rough social and political headwinds blowing at home and abroad, Hohner speaks with full voice against the storm of malevolence that so often seems the norm. In this terror, though, there is a desperate clinging to love, which Hohner returns to simply and elegantly. Perhaps it is in his reaching for solace that Hohner’s poems offer their greatest strength, while promising something more relatable: catharsis. The value of Thresholds and Other Poems is not in the path to peace this collection seeks, but in the pressure release valve it gives the reader from a tumultuous world. Friendship and marriage, the sensual act of eating an oyster, a hike in the woods at dusk—all find celebration in these pages. There is hope in these poems, and you will laugh and smile, too. Thresholds takes us to that frontier at the edge of the darkness, where the light lives.

Becoming the Enchantress by Kristin Kowalski Ferragut, illustrated by Coley Dolmance Ferragut

Becoming the Enchantress is the story of a transgender parent that faces personal longing for change. Given the acceptance and encouragement of her children, the parent magically transforms from a Wizard into an Enchantress on Halloween night. The story highlights themes of acceptance and the love between child and parent. Becoming the Enchantress is unique in that it is written for children whose parent is the one discovering their dysphoria and seeking reassignment, rather than that of the child or teenager themselves.

Becoming the Enchantress fills a heretofore neglected niche in children’s literature. It conveys the struggle of a parent to find, in this case, her true identity, and the children’s loving acceptance of it. It should prove a useful resource for families with a transgender or non-binary parent.

-W. Luther Jett, retired Special Educator, Montgomery County Public Schools, author of Our Situation and Everyone Disappears

Becoming the Enchantress is a beautiful story about a life-changing transition. It uses imagery that children can understand to discuss a difficult topic. The book details the emotions of someone who is learning how to be their true self. The story shows that while children may not fully understand the issue, they are accepting and are willing to love others for who they are. -Stacy Whipp, M.Ed.

A wonderful story for all ages of unconditional love and acceptance for people! Be true to who you are and love yourself and you will feel completely fulfilled. This story teaches us that no matter what, a person’s heart and soul is what defines them. -Katherine R Stull, LCSW-C

Becoming the Enchantress is a wonderful tale for anyone who has questioned their identity or has loved someone doing so. It treats the delicate subject in the most loving way possible, with gorgeous illustrations, spotlighting the magic that positive self-image and family acceptance can create. – Michelle Zibrat, Art Educator

I am both the parent of a trans child and a therapist that supports transitioning children, teens and adults. I love Becoming the Enchantress as it is a lovely story that explains the need to transition from your sex assigned at birth to your true self. Children will connect both with the Wizard and his family in this story. Using the experience of “trying on” a different persona is a lovely way to introduce the children to the wizard and the concept of transitions. -Theresa Fraser, CYC-P, CPT-S, NSCCT, MA, RP, Trauma and Loss Clinical Specialist

What did you receive?