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Potomac Books


Famous, Famous, 0803269242, 0-8032-6924-2, 978-0-8032-6924-8, 9780803269248, Kathleen Flenniken, Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Famous, 080325752X, 0-8032-5752-X, 978-0-8032-5752-8, 9780803257528, Kathleen Flenniken, Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetr

Kathleen Flenniken

2006. 76 pp.
$17.95 t

She “became famous, finally, to herself,” Kathleen Flenniken writes. This is the kind of fame at the heart of most lives and at the center of Flenniken’s first collection, the winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Here “a little voice sings / from the back of the auditorium / of my throat. Aren’t all of us / waiting to be discovered?”
The poet’s answer is sometimes grave, sometimes comic, but always tuned to the incidental music of daily life.

 Kathleen Flenniken’s poems have appeared in Poetry, Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, Southern Review, and Prairie Schooner. She was named Washington State Poet Laureate in 2012. Coeditor and president of Floating Bridge Press, a publisher of Washington State poets, Flenniken has taught poetry through Writers in the Schools and other arts agencies. Visit Kathleen Flenniken's website for more information.

"[Famous] weaves together two seemingly antithetical themes: the comic indignations and attractions of minor celebrities, and the everyday joys and sorrows of family life. . . . Ordinariness—our need for it, and our frustrations with it—becomes Flenniken's signature subject: the quietest evenings 'make you what you are.' Flenniken . . . has fashioned a poetry comfortable with self-imposed limits. . . . She still finds herself searching after mysteries, in board games, novels, and her own life." —Publishers Weekly Annex

"There's a winning surface modesty here: it isn't Abraham Lincoln who merits the poem, but his oft-maligned wife; not Edna St. Vincent Millay, but her stay-at-home husband; not the Taj Mahal, but the everyday International House of Pancakes. Still, in Flenniken's hands, these occasions rise toward urgent news—as when, in 'Shampoo,' the memory of a mother's declining health soulfully becomes one with the headline about a submarine's sinking—until the leastmost of us are transformed, poem by poem, into the famous."—Albert Goldbarth, author of Saving Lives, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award

“There is not a shred of pretentiousness [in these poems]. . . . Famous is a genuine treasure, which undoubtedly is why it was awarded the 2005 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry.”—The Seattle Times

“What emerges from the poems, taken as a group and as a loose narrative, is a familiar and mundane persona that could correspond to that of many middle-class American female poets. . . . [B]ut this life is, beautifully and completely, transformed into art. . . . [I]t is rare to come across a poet of familiar contemporary experience like Kathleen Flenniken, whose imaginative, convincing tropes, sense of rhythm and sound, sharp intellect, narrative instinct, and resistance to cliche transform that experience into art so compelling that it makes us wonder how have we come to doubt it could be done?”—Bloomsbury Review

“A rich offering of plain but musical language and understated irony. . . . These poems are routinely surprising, filled with memorable imagery and delightful comparisons that will stay with the reader for a long time. —

“[Flenniken’s] own poems pluck out the most ordinary moments of everyday life and probe for the extraordinary.” —Barbara McMichael, Olympian (Olympia, WA)

“With simple and honest language [Flenniken] weaves a journey of common, everyday moments that make up the human experience and giver her readers an unpretentious look at our very own reputations as parents, wives, husbands, children, and creators. . . . This is not a collection of poems one should read only once.”—Stacey Rollins, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi

2007 American Library Association Notable Books List selection
2007 Washington State Book Awards, sponsored by the Washington Center for the Book, poetry category finalist
2005 Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

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