The Atrocity of Water by Kirsten Hemmy


The Atrocity of Water by Kirsten Hemmy


A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

ISBN: 978-1-935708-12-4

8.5 x 5.5 paperback

84 pages

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“Within Kirsten Hemmy’s The Atrocity of Water, ‘everywhere, we are swimming,’ in waters deep and voiceless, holding life, death, and involuntary pain. Her poems, wrenching and seductive, wring from our imagination oceans of memories and possibility.” 

  — Joanne V. Gabbin, Furious Flower Poetry Center, James Madison University

“Kirsten Hemmy’s remarkable book of poems reaches us in the deep places of the heart where only a poem can go, where the reader will ‘want to know what survives us.’ These are wise poems that penetrate the mind with their brutal honesty. Again and again, we are broken and mended and again broken because ours is a world ‘built on enslaved sweat,’ a world where ‘all the tragedies of the world are a silence.’ This book is the voice of thousands who cannot tell their own stories. Kirsten is a brave poet, seeking to restore to us that world that was lost, a world she has seen not only in her dreams. These powerful poems are urgently relevant.” 

  — Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, author of Where the Road Turns

“ 'Yes, there will be singing about the dark times,' said Bertold Brecht. You can hear it in the poetry of Kirsten Hemmy. A visit to a slave house, memory of a rape, car crash, ferry accident, fear, dehumanization, loss and grief, ‘it's the same story all over town,’ says Hemmy. In Grand Dakar. In Manoa. In Charlotte, North Carolina. And though she sings of the chasm, perhaps unbridgeable, between the haves and the have nots, between us and them, the self and the other, she sings with grace and beauty because there is also tenderness, there is also hope we are somehow able still to muster. Hemmy's poetry has us ‘feeling the world drop by drop, seeing it / accumulate in all its true grit & glisten.’ This is an honest, lovely and honorable first book.” 

  — Nancy Eimers, author of A Grammar to Waking


About the Author

Kirsten Hemmy is the Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, and Religion at Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, North Carolina. She is also a member of the Southern Humanities Council executive board and the director of the Mosaic Literary Center of Charlotte, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the discovery, cultivation, and preservation of contemporary literature and the arts in underserved communities. She received her M.A. in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and her Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2003, she studied politics and poetry in Senegal. Hemmy has also studied in Ghana and is currently completing a book on Emma Brown, an Ibibio freedom fighter and political activist in Nigeria. Hemmy’s poetry has appeared in Sonora Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Callyx, Cake Magazine, Midwest Poetry Review, Lake Effect, Bellingham Review, Southern Humanities Review, Cream City Review, Smartish Pace, Antioch Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2008 recipient of the Linda Flowers Literary Award for Poetry, has received the Academy of American Poets Award, and has published interviews with poets such as Yusef Komunyakaa and Ralph Angel.