Featuring Bruce Bond, Anna Maria Hong, Richard Kenney, Kenji C. Liu, Allan Peterson, Michael Prior, David Rigsbee, Elizabeth Robinson, Cintia Santana, Mark Svenvold, Ellen Welcker, Yu Xiang & more
Uncommon Prayer Kimberly Johnson Persea, 2014 Uncommon Prayer, Kimberly Johnson’s third book of poems, is a book of transition in the deepest sense. Johnson’s first two collections, Leviathan with a Hook (Persea, 2002) and A Metaphorical God (Persea, 2008) are erudite, strange, and ultimately affirming. Uncommon Prayer, however, transitions from affirmation to a more emotionally direct ambivalence. The arc is signaled in the first poem, “Matins for the Last Frost,” which opens with a lush description, in one languorous sentence covering eleven lines, of the imminent bloom of a tulip bulb—“a leggy dishabille in lipstick.” Significantly, though this is a poem for Matins, we are not in the space of traditional Christianity. Church bells “raise their brazen” “somewhere on the other side of town.” How appropriate, then, that “Matins” is a liberated sonnet, dispensing with traditional rhyme and meter while adjusting the placement of the volta. What use is a form, after all, unless it fits a current need? Clearly, when the poem concludes, “everything is about to change,” it means anything as well.