Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart

For Educators

Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

The Trailhead
Kerri Webster

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2018 • 90 pp. 6 x 9"

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7811-2

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7812-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

There is such a force displayed in the poems in The Trailhead, one that writes on sexuality and power, meditating on larger concerns around ethics, from stories of spinsters, conversion, religion... [continued in Reviews below]”—Rob McLennan, Rob McLennan's Blog

Visionary poems lay claim to the power of the female poet

“I'm learning to allow for visions,” the primary speaker of The Trailhead announces, setting out through a landscape populated by swan-killers, war torturers, and kings. Much of the book takes place in the contemporary American West, and these poems reckon with the violence inherent in that place. A “conversion narrative” of sorts, the book examines the self as a “burned-over district,” individual and cultural pain as a crucible in which the book’s sibyls and spinsters are remade, transfigured. "Sacralization/is when things become holy, also/when vertebrae fuse," the book tells us, pulling at the tensions between secular and sacred embodiment, exposing the essential difficulty of being a speaking woman. The collection arrives at a taut, gendered calling—a firm faith in the power and worth of the female voice—and a broader faith in poetry not as a vehicle of atonement or expiation, but as bulwark against our frailties and failings.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“There is such a force displayed in the poems in The Trailhead, one that writes on sexuality and power, meditating on larger concerns around ethics, from stories of spinsters, conversion, religion, righteous action, desire, wilderness and poetry. Webster’s poems flood their narratives with discomfort, and an unease that can’t be turned away from, taking stock of the climate and providing insight into the unexamined.”
—Rob McLennan, Rob McLennan's Blog

“With impeccable grace and verve, Webster doubles down on a discomfiting stereotype, claiming it powerfully as a point of view. The book opens its concerns about sexuality and power into ecopoetic and larger ethical meditations.”—Cathy Wagner, author of Nervous Device

“Kerri Webster has my favorite living ear. And certainly it’s still one of my favorites when compared to the ears of the dead. But you should read this book because the lines buoyed by the ear are so often perfect wonders. “The stranger carves a gold tunnel / through the gold book. The river faces up neon, glows and / glows. I set my glasses by the bed, walk the river path. / Show me the gold tunnel. Show me where the gold tunnel goes,” for example, seems to me as perfect a wonder as poetry allows. How could you not read a book with those lines in it?”—Shane McCrae, author of In the Language of My Captor

From the Book:


All winter she's been growing more powerful.
Radiant, says the man at the bar.
Voluptuous, says the docent.
Nervy, says God.
All winter her soul has been juddering.
It feels like drinking gold flakes!
The word sleeps inside the stone.
The wind tongues the underside of the lake.
Inside the rifle scope of time, God
teaches her Grounding Techniques
thru his emissary, a Certified Therapist.
Beetles bore their dirty traffic into pine trees.
God says, You cling to deixis
like a life raft. Here, you say. Now,
you say. All winter, you say, like it means
something, days crossed off your compulsive
calendar, wind tied to your wrist
like a pet. This dumb hunger for fixity!
I made your cells to shed, says God.
She bites her lip till it bleeds.
Who wouldn't immanentize the eschaton,
if they could, build heaven on earth
in the back yard?
She wouldn't, is who.
Day a slit-throated ewe.
To ground herself, she strips berries
from juniper bushes.
Well, says God, Alexander the Great
dyed his hair saffron. We are all
made fools in this world.

KERRI WEBSTER is the author of the poetry collections We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone and Grand & Arsenal, the latter of which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. The recipient of awards from the Whiting Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, she was a Visiting Writer-in-Residence at Washington University in St. Louis from 2006-2010. She currently teaches at Boise State University.

Click here for author's website.

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 14:02:08 -0500