"Tender, mysterious, grieving yet good-natured, Kelle Groom’s poems reach to the heart. Underwater City is a marvelous collection, at once various and centered, often focusing on the subject of family. If you have ever been a member of one, you will recognize and appreciate the redemptive grace with which she writes."--Kelly Cherry
"Kelle Groom's beautiful poems are haunted by a rare intuition, a sense that things are more than what they appear."--Malena Morling
"Kelle Groom has a true and beautiful voice. She is not afraid to stand up and tell us, in everyday language, surrounded by real people, what she loves. . . . So heartful is her poetry that sometimes when she speaks, our skins tingle, as if butterflies had alighted there."--Lola Haskins
In her first collection of poems, Kelle Groom explores the reasons and mysteries that create personal relationships. These are poems of longing, personal and metaphysical, exploring the borders that separate individuals, the bonds that connect them, and the boundaries between the realms of life and death.
The poems tell family stories--the death of a child and of an adored grandmother--and stories of chance encounters that change lives. There are also powerful poems of social consciousness that make bridges for a renewed way of living in the world.
Groom uses dream metaphor as a signpost for real life, for the simple elements of night and day, and for her trust in time and lapses of time. In poems on personal relationships, including elegiac sequences about her grandmother and her son, as well as poems on alcoholism and loss and recovery, she finds gifts in the natural world. The landscapes of these poems include Cape Cod, Florida, Honolulu, South Carolina, and Spain; the locations range from a Civil War battlefield to a laundry room, from a homeless shelter to the opera, from a suburban mall to cemeteries--ancient, Native American, and inner city.
The poems in this collection are a night sky--constellations that move through the dark. They draw the reader into a realm of joy, suffering, and redemption, often with hilarity but also with an acute acknowledgment of precious life and fleeting time.
Kelle Groom's poems have previously appeared in Agni, The New Yorker, Luna, and Witness.
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"Groom proceeds--headlong, staggering and every now and then stumbling onto something extraordinary."
--New York Times Book Review
"Underwater City introduces us to a voice that is both ghost-like and full of wonder. Her imagery is as fantastical and as clear as Magritte's."
"At times, Groom's poems are so powerful that they seem to touch at undiscovered emotional centers that both shake and comfort us."
--The Missouri Review (online)
"The poem's themes remain with the reader long after the book has been set down."
--The Florida Review
"Groom skillfully connects loves to losses, generations to one another, and oceans near and distant. . . Each poem offers exceptional craftsmanship, precisely rendered emotions, and haunting images."
--Southern Humanities Review