Nancy Krygowski is an adult literacy instructor and codirector of the Gist Street Reading Series. Her poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, River Styx, Southern Poetry Review, 5 A.M., and other magazines. She is the recipient of a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant and awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Association of Writers & Writing Programs.
The Woman in the Corner keenly observes and gives voice to the ambiguities and astonishments that we often turn away from—in human relationships and in our own unruly hearts. In poems that speak fearlessly about sex and grief, mothers and daughters, and friendships and marriage, Krygowski examines the beauty and danger of inhabiting a woman’s body in the twenty-first century while negotiating how our pasts infiltrate, for better or worse, the here and now. This intimate collection delivers hard won loves and insights, surprising humor, and daring imagination. Krygowski celebrates our joys, gives witness to our pain, and never, never compromises.
Excerpt from “The Woman in the Corner”
I cut a leaf from my mother’s blooming violet,
long alive past her death, to start a plant
for my daughter who I never knew as a baby—
born to a different woman—
but for whom I explained birth
control, blood, how to relax, push in a tampon,
what my mother never touched, her body
a child-making mystery that pushed me
into mystery. What is a woman
who doesn’t long for kids?
Velocity time travels through memory and conjecture, yet Krygowski’s poems–often sad, sometimes humorous, always generous–return us continually to the beautiful and difficult here-and-now. Lovingly grounded in the ordinary, these are thinking poems–tightly crafted, accessible inquiries more interested in exploring stark and complicated knowledge than in proclaiming it. The poems, which use a sister’s death as a touchstone, dwell in the overlap of emotions. Loss touches happiness, desire touches fear, love touches futile knowing. Krygowski’s unstoppable energy for seeking and revealing disparate thoughts and emotions makes the collection wholly human. This fresh, surprising voice speaks for the intelligent heart in each of us.