by KB Ballentine
"Almost Everything, Almost Nothing could be a definition of life - its potential promise, its potential curse. In this intense collection, KB Ballentine presents the dark ghosts of loss and love, awakened and grieved amidst historical terror and the calming beauty of the natural world. Often loss creates a personal aloneness the landscape cannot fill. What can we do when terror strikes an ocean away - plant flower bulbs in winter before bluebirds signal spring? Ballentine leads us through a four-season journey in which we learn that as humans, we can't hide from our sorrows and live this gift of life. Ballentine's poetry helps us belong to the ghosts of our loves and silences, our leavings, losses and grief."
~ Bill Brown, author of Elemental
"Through the poems of Almost Everything, Almost Nothing, we are led on walks through the natural world of rose blossom and mimosa feather, of mushroom huddle and carob shadow, and, most of all, of light. Love, desire, history, memory, terror, longing - a whole range of trancelike connections with experience - KB embraces them all with close, sustained, transforming attention and insight rooted in oneness with the universe."
~ Mary Kay Rummel, Poet Laureate of Ventura County, CA,
and author of The Lifeline Trembles
Almost Everything, Almost Nothing is a balm for busy and troubling times. Almost Everything, Almost Nothing immerses the reader in lyric landscape and birdsong, a tapestry as well as a kind of territory, serving as an outdoor surrogate and cabin fever remedy. Ballentine's subtle, personal narrative is a light revealed late in these poems, prompting the reader to reconsider the poem, so recently traversed, with acute reflection.
"Our connections with the past, with each other and our surroundings,
and with current events sculpt our attitudes and actions."
~ KB Ballentine
The current events of this decade, our zeitgeist, lies here as well, buried as bones, or blooming in hues of ash and bruise. The ubiquitous sorrow of humanity suffering at its own hands, in these poems, rises occasionally like the seep of deep aches from old wounds. brought on by inclement weather, striking through the surface to connect the poets narrative with our own.
In Almost Everything, Almost Nothing these moments of connection come and go, as if Ballentine's pencil were a needle piercing and stitching a field of material, a material patterned with the more constant, yet seasonally shifting cycles of birds and flowers and weather.
KB Ballentine resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and teaches creative writing, theatre arts, and literature to high school and college students. She has an M.A. in Writing and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and publications, includingAlehouse, Tidal Basin Review, Haight–Ashbury Literary Journal, The Sigh Press,and MO: Writings from the River.
In 2016, her fourth collection of poetry received the Blue Light Press Book Award. Her work also appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015),Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). In 2014 she was a finalist in the Ron Rash Poetry Awards and, in 2006, a finalist for the Joy Harjo Poetry Award. She was a recipient of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in 2006 and in 2007.
"KB Ballentine’s poetry embodies what James Wright called “the delicacy and strength of lace.” Love and blues are her subjects,
and she is faithful to them in lines that are firm yet fanciful, offering trellises with blooms in every season."
~ Marilyn Kallet, on KB Ballentine's Perfume of Leaving.
author of 16 books, including The Love That Moves Me.