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Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-57131-456-7
Pages: 96
Publish Date: December 2012
Genre: Poetry



BY Patricia Kirkpatrick

A grim prognosis, brain cancer, leaves the speaker in Kirkpatrick’s Odessa fighting for her life. The tumor presses against her amygdalae, the “emotional core of the self,” and central to the process of memory. In poems emotionally charged but void of sentimentality, Kirkpatrick creates from loss a dreamlike reality. Odessa, “roof of the underworld,” a refuge at once real and imagined, resembles simultaneously the Midwestern prairie and a mythical god-inhabited city. In lines bearing shades of Classical heroism, Kirkpatrick delivers a personal narrative of stunning dimension.

For Odessa, Kirkpatrick was awarded the first annual Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry, which champions emerging Midwestern poets.



• In this interview, Kirkpatrick talks about finding one’s voice through poetic form, the geography of the female body, and crafting myth from Minnesota soil.
Odessa’s stunning cover art is a monotype made by Patricia Kirkpatrick’s sister, Joey. Find out why it perfectly fits the collection in the artist’s own words.

“These poems ache with the inescapable beauty of landscapes that remind us of human loneliness. This is a remarkably honest and deeply loving collection of poems.”

—Eleanor Lerman


Odessa is the 2012 winner of the Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry — an annual regional prize, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and the Lindquist & Vennum Foundation.To learn more about the prize and see other winning titles, visit our L&V Prize for Poetry page.

Editorial ReviewGoodreads Review

“Kirkpatrick's language is unflinching and beautiful.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The verses in Odessa examine with unflinching, plainspoken lyricism those moments when one’s life trajectory is abruptly derailed and its course irrevocably altered."


"Fearless poems that have been written out of necessity and that are thus vitally important."

—Jim Zukowski, The Rumpus


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Patricia Kirkpatrick

Patricia Kirkpatrick is widely published, both in literary journals and chapbooks. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

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