This volume opens with Keeps, a full-length book of new poems by LK Holt. Bound-in with it are her two prior books, Patience, Mutiny and Man Wolf Man.
A hallmark of Holt’s poetry has always been its continual refreshing of angles of vision. She has a dark skill with the unexpected image, and the thought that goes into an unexpected place. There is immediacy, even abruptness, amid her airy, crafted structures, and her music subsists in this.
The keeps in the new book are of course the new poems themselves, which for Holt are essentially findings. Her impulse as a poet is to the retrieving of story, and the objects of the world that erupt from the midst of story. Her bent is at the same time lyrical, sometimes meeting the world afresh through contemplations of paintings, sculpture, and film, and always quietly touching on selfhood. The long, episodic suite, ‘Stages of Balthazar’, is about a donkey practitioner of instinctual acceptance. Followed and neglected by a Chorus, Balthazar goes about his small village life, bearing a great love.
By adding her prior two books to this volume, the Press intends not only to keep them in print, but to lay out for readers the fullness of the growth of an oeuvre. The poet has taken the opportunity to make some excisions and revisions.
Brook Emery’s Launch Speech, 15th of October 2014.