poetry, prose & story
Kelly Gray is a writer and educator living in a very small cabin with her family deep in the redwoods, on Southern Kashia Pomo Land and Coast Miwok Land. She writes about what she knows or is trying to know; eco-resiliency, systemic violence, hauntology, prophetic animals, relationships to self and others, and rural life. She has a background in community organizing, birth<<>>abortion work, raptor handling, and is a Cal Naturalist. She teaches poetry to rural youth at the elementary and high school level, where she has discovered her love of dry-erase boards and speculating a just+poetic world with young folks.
“Several repairs appear to be in motion in these poems, one of which is, I think, traversing the cage of domestication separating ruthless, sensual wild(er)ness from our social creatures’ rationales that yet enable visiting calamities of sense upon one another. And it’s really the sensual that gets me—some restoration of faith in the body-poem union comes terrifically alive here, not the least due to the presence of damp animals, sharp instruments, bare stomachs, wafts of beer breath, truck exhaust, ‘thin femurs// jagged alps of possum teeth.’ An anxious Frankenwork. I frequently delight in feeling frightened; is that alright? I’m made to ask. Is delight an appropriate response to these images? Should one feel ‘appropriate’ when reading poetry? In a contemporary fog of content over-saturation, I can’t not advocate for cultivating this sort of self-checking trouble as a beacon of worthwhile writing.”
~Justin Phillip Reed, winner of the Lambda Award and the National Book Award, on The Mating Calls of the Specter, recipient of Tusculum Review Chapbook Prize
"Instructions for an Animal Body is a collection of poems full of intuitive wisdom; somehow ancient and timely at once. They remind us that time has extinguished neither violence nor kindheartedness. They track the small acts of brutality that lead to endless hatred, war, rape, and captivity, while murmuring a more compassionate approach—one that requires listening to softer voices. Gray shows us a restorative pathway for healing from violence, a consciousness-laden vision of reparation and reconstruction that requires a new language. In these poems, she delivers a story in which healing the child heals the mother; healing the mother heals the lover; healing the lover heals the trespasser; healing the trespasser heals the violator. There is hope in this new language that does not rely on capitulation to wrongdoing. Healing the violator might even heal the earth."
~Risa Denenberg, Co-founder of Headmistress Press, for CUlTURAL DAILY
Read the full review at Cultural Daily