FLIGHT takes its shape from a Cherokee ceremony for the dead, with opposing yet balancing movements of remembrance and release. This book explores both internal and external processes of enmity and loss, circling towards a posture of peace or at least acceptance. With its double meaning of fleeing and ascendance, FLIGHT mines the tension between memory and forgetting, where beauty does not go unnoticed and ordinary moments become sacred offerings. There is a danger of forgetting and a danger of remembering: which will we choose?Becker confronts the pain of the past while striving for a freeing future, all while looking to the present for small gratitudes. Time is circular and letting go of long-held loss requires the spiritual discipline of the warrior in discerning when it is necessary to fight and when it is wiser not to. The fight or flight response engenders another choice: flying above the anguish of the past, not in dissociation, but in imaginative association with all sentient beings and elements of creation that witness to damage done by human hand. This book asks whether being a warrior is finally more about resilience of mind than body even though body remembers what mind cannot and despite tricks memory plays in the process. There can be a danger of forgetting and trauma of remembering. If the past is volatile the present is voluble—whether it is spirits of the dead chattering too loudly or birds’ competing stories about creation and destruction. But there is also the hush of awe as hawks circle or a great blue heron glides silently over a river. As with Icarus, sometimes flight is born of hubris and results in a fall but even so, sometimes, however briefly, there is a stunning lift and for a moment flight assumes transcendence over loss.
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“Flight, Kimberly L. Becker’s most recent book, is a collection of poems that sing and images that soar. Weaving details of Cherokee stories, images of the natural world, and narrative specifics like a divorce and Lyme’s disease, Becker creates a stunning tapestry of the human experience. All flight is a balance between two sets of forces, lift and weight. In Becker’s poems, the lift is the resilience of the human spirit and our desire to fly, and the weight, all that we carry that weighs us down. In her poem “Morning Song,” Becker writes:
All the things you feared, they have come true// still, song rises//still, red bud and dogwood// throw forth bloom// still, blackbird with red war paint// calls: iyugwu
The colloquial translation of the Cherokee word iyugwu is “bring it on.” This is truly a greeting for each day created by a poet who knows how to rise above all that would hold her down. Savor these rich poems and remember how to listen: to the wisdom of your body, to the stories past and present, to the plants and animals we share space with, and even to listen deeply to the very earth herself.”
—Malaika King Albrecht, author of The Stumble Fields, Lessons in Forgetting, and Spill
“Conveying a level of empathy and depth of feeling that had to be microscopically sliver shaved from one's life existence; located and isolated into one particular strand of DNA and then placed on paper. Kimberly, with this work, has engendered her "self" formula-tangible.
Flight is awake and aware! Flight is Memory, Flight is the Present; A viaduct connecting contrastive moments in time, cultures & lore, and easing the gap between the two. The poem stories are connective, they are compassionate; lovingly embracing empathy and the collective voices of falling warriors and beloved ancestors who again and again are called upon to rise... to help shine the light, to bring the light; as darkness just is, it can't ever be banished. It can be shown by the path of the light, the way back to its own house; Where it should dwell in its given existence just like everything else and not be so damn bothersome.
I am reminded that in the light & chemistry of lore we see the brightest in each other, and even a penny, next to worthless, can exhibit a patina the color of lichen on stone and turns out lichen is not a single organism but a symbiosis and even though his body is failing in its strength against a stronger lion, his spirit is arrayed and shines with light.
Kimberly shows us in this lovely and intense personal collection, that she is a Quiet STORM; A type of woman, that I personally and recently, have come to HIGHLY regard.”
—Paula M. Nelson, Anikituwahgi Poet, Multimedia/Genre Artist
“What could be more appealing to the poetic imagination of earthbound humans than the act of flying? In this promising and provocative new collection, Kimberly Becker examines every iteration of taking to the air, and the worship of birds, raven, dove, heron, hawk and ibis, and their many habits. War dances make room for somber meditations, and uplifting well-made sentences glide across each page. Freshly squeezed myths and fables populate these narratives and light down in new and unexpected ways, scattering any preconceived notions or baggage that the reader may bring to the table. There are many moments of quiet astonishment, and the wind from the wings of this book stay with you, long after it has settled back in its nest on your shelf.”
—Keith Flynn, founder of The Asheville Poetry Review and author of Colony Collapse Disorder
by Kimberly L. Becker
$21.95, paperback, 130 pp