‹ Back to our Books



Binding: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-57131-448-2
Pages: 88
Publish Date: November 2012
Genre: Poetry

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.



  • 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 NewsHour’s 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



River House

These are poems of absence. Written in the wake of the loss of her mother, River House follows Sally Keith as she makes her way through the depths of grief, navigating a world newly transfigured.
Read more ›

Editorial ReviewGoodreads Review

“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.”

Bucknell Magazine

“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.”

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“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


Find Us Online

Sign Up For Our Email Newsletter
Download 2014 Catalog


Sally Keith

Sally Keith is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Fact of the Matter, Design (winner of the 2000 Colorado Prize for Poetry), and Dwelling Song (winner of the University of Georgia’s Contemporary Poetry Series competition).

Read More  Sally Keith

Sally Keith at Brazos Bookstore

Local poet David Lombardi will read from his recent poems and introduce Sally Keith, who will read from her recently published collection of poems, River House.

View events Details >See all events

all books
the fiction
the nonfiction
young readers

scroll left scroll right

Contact Us
© 2015 Milkweed Editions, a nonprofit, literary publisher. All Rights Reserved.
This website was made possible through the generosity of our donors.

Site by Firebrand, LLC
Site design by Maloney Design Studio