Shelter in Place


Shelter in Place



Document Type




In her collection, Shelter in Place, Catherine Kyle offers unapologetic mirrors and terrifying prophecies; these graceful, imaginative poems are not afraid to look into the deep dark--within and without--into the places we often close our eyes against. Refusing retreat, spurning sanctuary, Kyle's poetry is interrogatory, seeking answers: if we advocate awareness as a "balm," especially now "in the age of the image," how can we stare into the faces of suffering and do nothing? She goes on to ask: "if this world is a story, / what is its moral," an answer that relies on our acceptance of responsibility as "the sovereign or the heir." Will we be parent or legacy, liberator or disciple? Kyle reminds us that although we often give in--make deals with crossroads demons, relinquish our "hands" for "gloves," the "softest kid skin," take the easy outs--through it all we have a choice; we can choose to be museums, to "make shelters of / our bodies," to "carry the ghosts / of what is lost." We can "become custom jobs," play our parts, save empathy, create change. Even as Kyle's poetry terrifies and punctures us with worry, it rebels, refusing to relinquish hope, goading us into bravery. Shelter in Place is a warning, a slap in the face, a kick in the ass, a pre-apocalyptic prayer, a guide to action where "agency" equals "lullaby elegy power." Kara Dorris, author of Night Ride Home and Untitled Film Still Museum.



Publication Date



English Language and Literature

Citation for published book

Kyle, Catherine. Shelter in Place. New York City: Spuyten Duyvil, 2019.

Shelter in Place