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"Karen Kelsay’s third full length book of lyric poetry, Of Omens That Flitter, is a moving collection of new and selected poems, both in form and in free verse, showcasing the musicality, care, and craftsmanship that have become the hallmark of the author’s work. The shifting courses setting the tone in the opening sonnet reappear throughout, and provide the reader with deeply spiritual meditations on the theme of change—from youth to old age, from life to death, from summer to winter, from doubt to belief. The touching poems about her family, her travels, her faith, and her life in California and in England are infused with wisdom and humor, enhanced by an inspired and graceful combination of plainspoken language and striking sensual imagery. Her treatment of light and shadow, for example in 'The Courtship Hour' and 'Needlepoint in Blue,' is particularly fine. In his search for a definition of pure poetry, scholar of philosophical theology and literature James Matthew Wilson states, 'Poetry never appears so powerfully as a gift or revelation as when it finds words for the invisible life of the spirit.' In Of Omens That Flitter Karen Kelsay has indeed found those words."

~ Catherine Chandler 

Of Omens that Flitter

  • "This is a book of poems by my publisher, so it behoves me to be, at least, polite. However, no need to worry. These are the sort of poems I like. They rhyme and they scan and they make sense. In other words they are unlike the sad general run of poetry these days. Well of course they are. Karen Kelsay started Kelsay Books in order to show the flag. I joined her, firstly because she accepted the book I sent her, but also because she is doing what needs to be done. There’s plenty here about death (a poet’s biggest gun). Death is the straight-faced man who stares far off. There are ghosts and more than a whiff of Tennyson, with poems called The Lady of Shalott and Mariana. Many of the poems don’t rhyme, which doesn’t suit my prejudices. Cats stalk through the book, which does. In fact the book is full of small, furtive animals and birds about their business, which could well be killing each other. Even the plants are on the move, an orchid and a hemlock intertwine forever. This is a very visual poet. She makes you see, and see in colour what’s more. Lots of whites and blues and golds. Here and there a yellow, a green, a pink. Omens? What are they omens of? Disquiet and concealed violence. And underneath everything sadness. Sadness."

    ~ John Witwhorth

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