Abloom & Awry



THE BOOK: Abloom & Awry.

PUBLISHED IN: April 2017.

THE AUTHOR: Tina Kelley.

THE EDITOR: Baron Wormser.

THE PUBLISHER: CavanKerry Press, Fort Lee, NJ, a nonprofit press known for books illustrating the emotional landscapes of daily life, and for its commitment to community service.

SUMMARY:  Abloom & Awry expresses the awe I feel toward the beauty in the world, and also its disasters and destruction. It contains poetry informed by a journalism career, infused with the love of language, fact, music, nature, family, and their interplay. In Abloom & Awry, I praise strange truths and windshield dings. I pay close attention to the dark, trying to move through it with an affirmation. Containing multitudes of human foibles, natural phenomena, questions from children, plus a little roadkill and some hope, Abloom & Awry sings yes to forever, and to forever’s darkest side. My poetry is strongly influenced by Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” “Firekeeper,” by Pattiann Rogers, and the spirit, accuracy and close attention of James Agee, David Wagoner, Sharon Olds, D. Nurkse, Bob Hickok and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Image result for Tina Kelley + poet + photosTHE BACK STORY:  The oldest poems in the book date from the early 1990s, the most recent from 2016. I’m always working towards a manuscript. This one gathered itself around the title poem, which won the New Jersey Poets Prize in 2014.

WHY THIS TITLE? The title poem captured the main theme, of how compelling both beauty and destruction can be, often at the same time.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? This book is for people who want poems that are concise, accurate, and full of wit, sharing perspectives and skills gained from the “front row seat in life” I’ve had as a journalist. Readers looking for a book that contains multitudes of feeling: humor, grief, joy, adoration. People hungry for a smorgasbord of experiences, birth, childhood, creativity, destruction, middle age, old age, death, and their epic combinations.


“The title of Tina Kelley’s new book, ‘Abloom & Awry,’ promises a richness of language within, witty, authentic, and profound. That promise is fulfilled on page after page. In addition to her acute attention to the earth and the interconnectedness of its life, Kelley brings her energy and originality to the  world of parent and child, the body and wonder of the experience, the first child, the second. She presents the unrestrained curiosity and imagination of childhood in her own exquisite language without exaggeration or sentimentality. The tradition of English poetry is enriched by such a voice.” — Pattiann Rogers, “The Grand Array,”: “Song of the World Becoming,” “Firekeeper.”

“Tina Kelley is a good poet for the same reasons she was a good reporter — she asks good questions, she picks up vivid details. Above all, she pays attention. As a result, reading Kelley is like having an attention implant; edges are sharper, colors more vivid, meanings finer honed. Since it’s a fallen world, Kelley can skin you and salt you and nail you to the barn door when she imagines her way into the pain of others, whether as real as children in a shelter or as fictional as Peter Pan’s abandoned mother Pamela. But praise is her first language, and praise is what these poems deserve.” — Susan Blackwell Ramsey, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry for “A Mind Like This.”

“…lush and life-affirming collection…by turns witty, wondrous, woeful, and wise… Abloom & Awry is, indeed, “a love letter to life,” to all the beautiful, horrifying, joyful, tragic and ordinary objects and occurrences that saunter past an observant  ye….Reading Abloom & Awry made me giddy for the future and all its possibilities. As she states reassuringly, ‘every inch we grow/is a step closer to new splendor.’” — Martha Silano, review in “Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry.”

AUTHOR PROFILE:  My third poetry collection, Abloom and Awry came out in 2017 from CavanKerry Press, joining Precise (Word Press), and The Gospel of Galore, (Word Press), winner of a 2003 Washington State Book Award. “Ardor,” my first chapbook, my first chapbook, won the Jacar Press chapbook competition and appeared in September. I co-authored “Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope” and reported for The New York Times for ten years, sharing in a staff Pulitzer for 9/11 coverage. I wrote 121 “Portraits of Grief,” short descriptions of the victims. My writing has appeared in Poetry East, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, The Best American Poetry 2009 and on the buses of Seattle, Washington. I live with my husband and two children in Maplewood, NJ.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: When writing poetry, I aim to share the meaning I have found in the most accurate way possible, so that readers can accompany me through experiences and insights, and live a bit of what I have lived. If I’m successful, my words provide a stereopticon view, three dimensions growing from two on the page.

SAMPLE POEM: http://one.jacarpress.com/issue

LOCAL OUTLETS: Words Bookstore, Maplewood NJ.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT:  https://cavankerrypress.org/product/abloom, or your local bookstore, or Amazon/Barnes & Noble.

PRICE: $12.80 through the publisher.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:  I tweet @tinakelley, am on Facebook as @tina.kelley.writer, blog at tinakelleypoetry.wordpress.com, and my email is tinakelleywriter@g

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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