Site design: Skeleton
Mortal Means, Poems by Kay Barnes
The lyric sequences in Kay Barnes' Mortal Means capture human spiritual longing in all its majesty and intimacy, working from the smallest painterly detail to the broadest canvas of the heavens. This is a profoundly accomplished first collection.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Kay Cavanaugh Barnes lives in Dallas, Texas, and Bridgton, Maine. She has taught English at high schools in the Chicago area, Loyola University in New Orleans, and Richland College in Dallas, French at the University of Texas in Arlington, poetry writing at The Writer’s Garret and an AIDS counseling center in Dallas, and English as a second language for Catholic Charities Immigration Counseling Services. Barnes has also worked as a reporter for three weekly newspapers. She earned an M.A. in English from Marquette University, an M.A. in French from Middlebury College, and an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College. Her poems have been published in Poetry, America, Kalliope, Kansas Quarterly, The Midwest Quarterly, and other journals.
"With skill, power, and savoir faire, Kay Barnes’s Mortal Means brings to us the rich brocades and gauzy afternoon light of Europe, reflected off the glass of her own full-bodied, ruby-red, shimmering life. These are slowly made, well-wrought poems of deep passion made from the world for the inner life."--Jack Myers
"Multivalent and multi-voiced, the poems in Moral Means read like hymns or prayers to both the physical world and the world of the spirit. I have rarely read poems that articulate so powerfully and with such precision those difficult moments of intimacy that reveal so much about the human condition. 'To look at what needs to be seen is difficult,' Barnes writes, but these poems do it over and over."-- Sheryl St. Germain
"Mortal Means is profoundly aware of the re-admission into the contemporary tradition of permission for poets to be didactic, especially in the area of religion. It places the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux into the context of postmodern American culture, realizing the full range and power of that juxtaposition."-- Jonathan Holden "In Mortal Means desire runs parallel with a fleshless search for spiritual truth. The idea of saintliness permeates the poems, which hunger on the page — for beauty, for sex, for the heat of love in families, for whatever can be touched, then internalized."--David Dodd Lee "Like the workers in Barnes’s poem 'Cleaning the Sky,' carefully scrubbing Michelangelo’s vision back into brilliance, these poems, suspended between St. Thérèse’s world and our own 'Age of Whatever,' expose the intensity at the core of women’s lives past and present. An unsparing eye and uncanny tonal acuity are the necessary, sufficient, and mortal means by which this vision is achieved. A haunting debut."-- Robin Behn
ISBN 1932339280, 80 pages, $17.00