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Beauport

Kate Colby, author

ISBN: 978-1-933959-23-8Cover art by Paul Morrison12 01 201087pp$15

Kate Colby

Kate Colby is the author of Fruitlands (Litmus Press, 2006), Unbecoming Behavior (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008), Beauport (Litmus Press, 2010), The Return of the Native (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011), and I Mean (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015). Her first title, Fruitlands, was selected by Rosmarie Waldrop for a Norma Farber First Book Award in 2007. Chapbooks include Rock of Ages (Anadama Press) and A Banner Year (Belladonna), and recent journal publications include New American Writing, Vanitas, No: A Journal of the Arts, EOAGH, and Little Red Leaves. A recent interview about her work can be found at Bookslut. She grew up in Massachusetts, interloped in California, and now lives in Providence, RI, where she works as a teacher and copywriter.

Praise for Beauport

These are poems of quiet beauty, wielding power through lovely simplicity. They wander through ideas and memories, they explore what is lost and what is learned in the process of becoming a person…

Angela Veronica Wong for _New Pages review_; April 2011

A book that is both lyrical and conversational. A book that always feels in the present. There’s beautiful music throughout… Ultimately, Beauport will set you adrift with beautiful imagery and haunting questions that will linger long after the book is finished…

Steven Karl for H_NGM_N review; Issue 12, April 2011

In Beauport, Kate Colby tells the tale of the decorator and designer Henry Davis Sleeper, braiding in prose-lyric reminisces of her own New England upbringing and ‘anti-ekphrastic’ poems after Currier & Ives lithographs of the Victorian-era leisure class. This is Colby’s ‘sotted nineteenth century,’ peopled with antique glass buoys and ‘animate dioramas,’ where the sound of seagulls dropping quahogs on the roof echoes all day. Not since Charles Olson’s Maximus has Gloucester been so gallantly and aptly sung!

Julian T. Brolaski

Kate Colby’s Beauport opens windows framing history framing natural and unnatural settings (traffic, waves, skylines, sky). The work presents a series of displacements, smoke and mirror memory experiments, stitching together with anachronism the physical and the metaphysical. This is a fascinating book, composing and collapsing (wing, telescope), foregrounding subject, object and sightlines in between. With its architecture of vignettes, lullabies, hymns and fragments, Colby’s Beauport constructs resistances, ever confronting its considered grace and precision in ripples of savory humors. “‘contrails, line breaks / in the sky, dawning / discontinuous'

Norma Cole

With a fine intelligence and a subtle ear Colby tracks both instabilities and possibilities, the map that is but broken sherds and the sherds that can become a map.

Rosmarie Waldrop on selecting _Fruitlands_ for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, 2007

Excerpt from Beauport

The Sailor — Far — Far at Sea (1845)

The lonely but impeccably groomed tar moons over a miniature of his intended.

A square-rigger off windward

all spars and yards and pennants aflutter —

I see love!

I see love and need you to hear it: listen, I did once love someone who told me that

he and some other boys would climb onto a roof over Main Street and cast clam-baited hooks into the air, where the seagulls would catch and swallow them. The boys would then fly the gulls like kites over Main Street. The dying birds would have seen the harbor and returning trawlers, their compatriots swarming like flies over fish heads with eyes in them, fish tails, the dilapidated Manufactory

contrails, line breaks in the sky, dawning discontinuous

high over Eastern Point where they top the trees in privilege of the view

That’s love for you.

They feel something holding lenses to scorching insects, collecting weapons, throwing stars —

Sailor-Far-Far, I hope this feeling never goes away — this is consummation, is the look of time-lapsed stars moving across a life, is the megaphone through which I see you

my love

says means also ends

you see there is no sense to this surface — I need a legend.

§

On a thick September afternoon Sleeper picks his way through the rangy catbrier and bracken of Eastern Point. Rendered inflexible by late summer’s drought, thorns and twigs scratch at his arms and leave their tiny appendages clinging to his trousers. The sun slants through chaff and kicked-up grit. Almost-dead things zigzag his head.

At last, he picks through to the clearing at the edge of the cliff. The fishing boats are coming home under funnel clouds of seagulls. A shiftless breeze picks up and dispels the smell of brack and diesel, carries the sound of fledgling whitecaps. A late afternoon’s half moon rises over Magnolia. All that granite.

Sleeper plans to build here and only knows what he doesn’t want: the aquamarine undersides of ship captains’ overhangs. No breath of fresh air, his home must insufflate itself

follow a single fan blade until dizzy

suck cap to your lip cup to your face

feel the ring of it somewhere something tweeting In the acute September dusk, zigzagging bats, blue sand and the moon above other human forms of illumination.