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Publish Date: November 2012
The Fact of the Matter
BY Sally Keith
In this highly cultivated, intricately crafted collection, Sally Keith explores the conflict between empirical fact—as denoted by history, narrative, and observation—and the emotional matter comprising all things. Keith shows the self as a crucible of force—that which compels us to exert ourselves upon the world, and meanwhile renders us vulnerable to it.
With poems remarkable in their clarity and captivating in their matter-of-factness, Keith examines the impossible and inevitable privacy of being a person in the world, meanwhile negotiating an inexorable pull toward the places we call home—one we alternately try and fail to resist.
BEYOND THE BOOK
Read a Q&A with Sally Keith on indulging an obsession with discovery, finding a place for man-made structures in nature poems, and juxtaposing empirical and emotional knowledge.
Watch Sally Keith read “Providence” and “The Fact of the Matter” for PBS NewsHours Art Beat blog below.
“Through contemporary voices and timeless contexts, these haunting poems fracture—then rebuild—lyric expectations.”
—Linda Bierds, author of First Hand and
The Ghost Trio
“Keith's precisely crafted language captures the wonder and frustration of that location where lines seem to meet but do not converge, a physical place firmly anchored in the earth but which grows defiantly more elusive the closer one draws.”
“For Keith, discoveries in any discipline—from physics to painting—push humanity forward, and myth is used not as a crutch for meaning, but as an anchor for new discourse on selfhood in our moment.”
“Presenting a tone of balanced offhandedness, Keith’s work is worth investigating by those who want a well-rounded sense of modern poetry. Recommended.”
—Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal
By deftly stacking each new line of thought against the next, The Fact of the Matter achieves a rhetoric of wrenching juxtaposition, illuminating the complex forces that the past—both distant and near—exerts on one’s present.”—The Kenyon Review