Gatherer’s Alphabet by Susan Kelly-DeWitt is the first book in Gunpowder Press’s California Poets Series. Praise for Gatherer’s Alphabet:
These luscious poems feel like small museums of infinite wonder. Gallery, butterfly, stars in autumn. The wisdom of nature, the work of angels, what women endure—I love these poems. A timeless grace breathes through this marvelous book, this bounty you’ll be grateful that you read.
—Lee Herrick, Fresno Poet Laureate (2015-17)
author of Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire
Susan Kelly-DeWitt’s concentrations come to life as if in a studio, with watercolor washes and ink accentuations. As well as mother and father, ghosts and angels, words are animated characters urgently communicating— whistling to animals or dogwood gods, pinches of anger too—a tool to save us. Is she holding a pen—or a moth by its wings? Poems like “Words” and “The Thorne Miniatures” and the title poem gaze multi-eyed at the reader from the palm of her offering hand.
— Sandra McPherson, author of The 5150 Poems and Speech Crush
What I love about Susan Kelly-DeWitt’s poems are the colors, how they “hold / themselves out / to be touched.” Her mother is described as having “storm-colored hair.” Silence is a “white bulb.” The past is a minefield of blue flowers. This bringing together of nature and mind, the mundane and the transcendent, is the result of the poet’s unrestrained sympathy for all living things. Kelly-DeWitt’s companions in this vision-quest are O’Keeffe and Van Gogh, artists who paint not the appearance of field and cloud, but the primal energy beneath the surface. The act of seeing is the true subject here. We are fortunate to have Kelly-DeWitt to guide us through this journey.
—Michael Simms, editor of Vox Populi, author of Nightjar
Coming from a world “sheltered by cold leaves of starlight,” Susan Kelly-DeWitt’s powerful new work serves as a garden for ghosts, windows, and angels capable of making ordinary events extraordinary. A sharp sense of loss is integral to Gatherer’s Alphabet, which is steeped in the particulars of memory, the pebbles, the dark pits. Here is an “impossible country of imagination“ that must be visited over and over.
—Maya Khosla, Poet Laureate Emerita of Sonoma County, author of All the Fires of Wind and Light