A 2022 Independent Press Awards Distinguished Favorite in Social/Political Poetry!
Elizabeth’s chapbook Little Victory, a collection of poems about the planet, politics, and small things that spark big hope is now available from Finishing Line Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and elsewhere! 🎉🦋
“Entering into the realm of Elizabeth Kuelbs’s Little Victory is not unlike stepping into an enchanted forest, where everything matters and is given its proper recognition. Kuelbs has come to remind us that the tiniest act can—and does—have the potential to create massive shift. It takes a brave and openhearted sorceress to look unflinchingly at our current state of affairs and offer incantations in the form of poetry to start to heal our hurting world. She brings her readers the perfume of roses and jasmine, witchy intuition and mother medicine, all in service of hope and the restoration of soulful integrity. Her deft weaving of words and her courageous authenticity make this sweet collection a remedy. May the cool and soothing waters of her words drench the grief that threatens to incinerate us all. May we all be the daughter of her poems; may we all “…rise grinning, forever crowned in grit and sky.”
—Kohenet Rachel Kann, author of How to Bless the New Moon (WORD: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize winner) and A Prayer on Behalf of the Broken Heart
“There is an urgency, a swing and a punch, in Little Victory. Sound (“the owls talon down”) pushes vision to map this wounded world and its marvelous strangeness, its precarities. Elizabeth Kuelbs’s vision sings most fiercely when she leaps toward the fantastical, imagining the rapacious world we’ve built as a dragon (“he drools for their pangolin / wine”), or the self as an ostrich avoiding what can’t be borne.
In Kuelbs’s vision we are “all of us strange wrack,” tossed up on the shore of the moment, trying to find human connections to guide us through the howl. Trying to protect the ones we love, “What would you do to ban chlorpyrifos/ from his blooming brain, sulfur dioxide // from their pink lungs.” A lot. We’d do a lot, if we saw as clearly as these poems do.”
—Elizabeth Bradfield, author of Toward Antarctica
“Little Victory exists at an intersection of the environment and politics, meeting those two giants with toughness and tenderness. A beautiful book—one that knows that the beautiful is not always pretty, but rather, as she writes of her daughter playing in a puddle, is ‘crowned in grit and sky.'”
—Jason Gray, author of Radiation King and Photographing Eden, http://jason-gray.net
How to Clean Your Eyes
A poetry chapbook now out 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. It’s now available from dancing girl press, or please email Elizabeth if you’d like a signed copy! 🎉🌿
“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