“Keetje Kuipers’ poems are daring, formally beautiful and driven by rich imagery and startling ideas.”
—Tracy K. Smith
“Quietly ferocious, The Keys to the Jail is full of love and after-love poems that come clad with ‘bell[ies] of rusted steel.’ These poems are not afraid to feel, not afraid of desire or beauty or the inevitability of their respective undoings, not afraid ‘to eat the filter on the cigarette.’ Yet there is such generosity here in the ‘repenned’ landscape—out among the wolves and ghosts, the rodeo queens and Dairy Queens—that we are allowed to glean from hunger, a form of contentment, and still welcome the cavernous desire for more.”
From The Keys to the Jail
One of Us Can't Live Like This
We might be unhappy for the rest
of our lives. It's not inconceivable --
the skiff of dust on your hands, the slow
smelting of years. How would I know
if you call me darling in your sleep?
A promise is a train lying in a field
for decades: we take pictures of the weeds
that flower around it and talk about the days
when it arrived with a whistle of steam.
About the Author
Keetje Kuipers’ debut collection, Beautiful in the Mouth, won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Kuipers holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from the University of Oregon. Her poetry appears widely in such venues as American Poetry Review, Indiana Review, and Jubilat. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Oregon Literary Arts. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Kuipers is currently an assistant professor at Auburn University.