What the Mouth Was Made For

What the Mouth Was Made For by [Riegel, Katherine]THE BOOK: What the Mouth Was Made For.


THE AUTHOR: Katherine Riegel

THE EDITOR: Lee Passarella, then working with FutureCycle, and Diane Kistner of FutureCycle

THE PUBLISHER: FutureCycle Press

SUMMARY: The poems in this collection are lyric, full of yearning, grief, and desire. They rely on images of landscape and nature, set in both Florida and Illinois, to reach towards some understanding of the human condition and towards understanding, acceptance, and ultimately hope.

Katherine RiegelTHE BACK STORY: This was my second book of poems, and many of the poems were written over the course of a year-long correspondence with the poet Michael Hettich. We exchanged a poem nearly every week. The book was published by the same publisher who took my first book, Castaway, three years earlier.

WHY THIS TITLE: I wrote a double sestina years ago with a line I liked: This is what the mouth was made for: apple, word, kiss. The poem was about my first kiss, how the boy had suffered a terrible fire at his house. The poem ultimately didn’t succeed–too much going on, and the form was limiting, but the line stuck with me. So the book is called What the Mouth Was Made For, and the final poem in it is Apple, Word, Kiss.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: I think the poems in this book are accessible, trying to communicate rather than obfuscate. I’m hoping a reader will see something familiar in here, something that, perhaps, says what they thought but never had words for. Ideally, I think it might inspire a reader to write their own poems.


The poems in “What the Mouth Was Made For” give voice to our most lavish desires, our greatest fears, and, most importantly to me, calls to question our definition of fulfillment.” –Amazon review.

[Riegel] rekindles that tender and slightly crazed engagement with life that shaped us before we got used to the world. I found myself unjaded for hours at a time. –Tim Seibles

Indeed, if the heart had a mouth, these are the kinds of poems it would speak. — Nin Andrews

AUTHOR PROFILE: I’m a Midwesterner, through and through, having grown up on a horse farm in central Illinois. But I lived in Florida for six years, and fell in love with it as well. Now, because of marriage, I live in Memphis, Tennessee. So my heart is divided, dwelling in three places. You can find out more about me at katherineriegel.com (https://katherineriegel.com).

AUTHOR COMMENTS: I’ve got a new book of poetry, Love Songs from the End of the World, coming out in summer or fall 2019 from Main Street Rag Publishing. I have to write poetry: it’s how I try to understand the world and myself. I also offer online classes in poetry and creative nonfiction; details on my website.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). Chimes in Terrain.org. https://www.terrain.org/poetry/27/riegel.htm

LOCAL OUTLETS: I’m honestly not sure. Powells online does carry it used.

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon. https://smile.amazon.com/What-Mouth-Made-Katherine-Riegel-ebook/dp/B00E3FOCGG/

PRICE: $15.95

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: kriegelwriter@gmail.com, katherineriegel.com

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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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