“Keelan’s poetic, as capacious as it is exacting, defies easy categorization: her epistemological, ethical, and spiritual acuity permeates poems that are as attentive to the physical world as they are to the paradoxes of our failures to represent it. . . . The exhilarating surprise in these poems is the ardor with which she savors the sonorous and sensual within the very language of our failures, the zeal with which she teaches us to glean.”
Available in print.
Claudia Keelan is the author of four collections of poetry, including Refinery, which won the Cleveland State University Poetry Prize, The Secularist, a winner in the 1997 Contemporary Poetry Series from the University of Georgia Press, and Utopic, which won the 2000 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books. Her poetry has been anthologized in What Will Suffice: Contemporary Poets on the Ars Poetica and the 1997 Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry. Her criticism has been reprinted in the 1993 edition of Contemporary Authors. Ms. Keelan's honors include a 1990 Jesse Stuart Award for excellence in teaching; a 1991 fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico; a 1992 grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women; and in 1997 The Secularist was nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award.
“Each world is a room, each room is a world, and Keelan’s poetry—through syntax, typography, verb tense, and images—brings us toward the realization that our being in the world is our realizing the world in every being . . . Keelan’s book accomplishes a glorious synthesis of spiritual, political, and philosophical traditions that emphasize unity, openness, and love with a poetic tradition that has frequently been thought of as exclusionary and difficult.”
“This profoundly moving book is fact of a consummate skill and the human possibilities it works to realize and to honor. In these poems Claudia Keelan keeps the faith for us all.”
“These are beautiful, anguished political poems. They emerge from a Southern past, and a Western desert present in whose palpable solitude Keelan writes for both herself and the many. Her language, as language, is intended to create change through a deliberate evenhanded musicality; but the poems are also desert-air-clear as to meaning. Utopic is an unanticipated accomplishment.”
More by Claudia Keelan: