New Book

How to Clean Your Eyes

A poetry chapbook forthcoming in 2020 from dancing girl press.

This collection comes from these days of combustible heat and shifting ground, when even small connections with others and with nature can offer footholds, purpose, and peace.

Ordering information coming soon!


“Elizabeth Kuelbs’s debut poetry collection reveals a timely, truthful and striking voice. With keen observations of both natural and political worlds, How to Clean Your Eyes discloses, poem by poem, how to ‘let glacier tears … wash your eyes’ into new seeing. Kuelbs’s images are precise and memorable: volcanic ‘obsidian reflects sunfire,’ seal fur comes ‘alive/ with quick-tongued/ lizards,’ islands exhale ‘lemon scent of plumeria,’ a gorilla ‘spins/ his own rain,’ and manta rays glide with ‘remoras lip-hiked to the deep-side.’ These poems surprise us with moments of natural and human connection that begin in the quotidian and often end in the transcendent. With sharp and urgent focus these poems also lay open contemporary agonies: ‘turbine-chopped/ hawks,’ ‘ashed vineyards,’ ‘the men who desecrate our sweetest places,’ ‘cage[s]/ of crying babies,’and ‘blood-spattered desks.’ Kuelbs writes, ‘what I want to know is: why do we still choose death,’ and this dazzling collection sets vibrant connections against stark realities, and tests them against each other with fire and hope.”
—Laura Reece Hogan, author of O Garden-Dweller and I Live No Longer I: Paul’s Spirituality of Suffering, Transformation, and Joy

“Elizabeth Kuelbs’s How to Clean Your Eyes is a feast for the senses and a gut punch to the sensibilities. She sings of somewhere skies and marching mothers and paints a world where people connect… with each other, with nature, with themselves. Her haunting images are a call to action, a vivid augury that time is precious, and the delicate balance that binds us to this planet can be diminished until we are merely remembering wings and dreaming of rain. Kuelbs reminds us that we are made of star and milk, and tide and howl, and root and bone and birth, and that we can indeed rise and battle through this present darkness if we first clean our eyes and see.”
—Shari Swanson, author of Honey, the Dog Who Saved Abe Lincoln