Faces of Fishing Creek
by Kyle Laws
BISAC: Poetry / Women Authors
Faces of Fishing Creek is a novella in poems in the voices of two characters, Clara and Joseph, who developed an isolated section of Southern New Jersey as a summer resort for Philadelphia residents.
"There is a delicious complexity in Kyle Laws’ Faces of Fishing Creek. On the surface, these poems tell the story of Joseph and Clara, a Russian husband and wife in flight from the Bolshevik Revolution, who come to America and eke out a living on the shores of Delaware Bay. But in the depths of these poems, other currents are work: the forces of history, social prejudice, conflicting ambitions, and thwarted desire. These two vivid voices and their tutelary spirits—Joseph’s Pushkin and Clara’s Akhmatova—articulate parallel lives that never manage the kind of open communication on which love depends. Except, of course, within the imagination of Kyle Laws herself, where their story and her own come together through the redemptive power of art."
— Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate
"These poems are like whispers in the night, the intimate and uneasy thoughts of Clara and Joseph, "two twined against nor'easters, / roots deeper than reeds in the runoff." What poignant pleasure to spend time with them on the edge of things—the sea, a new world, a questionable business venture, the coming modernity, each other—here in Fishing Creek, "where the wind off bay roars not far from the Atlantic, / over the deep channel off a cliff of shoals." Kyle Laws has created a whole world in these poems and these characters that tangles us thoroughly in its tides and its winds in the saltgrass."
— Marilyn McCabe, author of Perpetual Motion and Glass Factory
"Faces of Fishing Creek is a beautifully crafted novella in verse about the deep history, racial politics, and changing ecology of the author’s childhood village in Southern New Jersey. Kyle Laws tells this story through the heartbreaking lives of Clara and Joseph, whose voices echo across the landscape long after the book ends. This is a haunting work about migration and dreams, love and loss, memory and belonging."
— Craig Santos Perez, author of From Unincorporated Territory [Lukao] and From Unincorporated Territory [Guma’]
“Here I learned grief. / I came to know it to be as deep / as the artesian well / at the top of New Jersey Avenue. / There is nothing I cannot imagine / being done in its name.”
In Kyle Laws’ historically-based novella in verse Faces of Fishing Creek, the reader follows Clara and Joseph’s journey from the streets of Old World Odessa to the wind-whipped shoreline of New Jersey’s Wildwood Villas. In pared down verse—reminiscent of Akhmatova’s Acmeist sensibilities—Laws invokes the beauty and terror of the natural world and the shifting cultural landscape of the United States in the first half of the twentieth century. Unflinchingly, these poems document one immigrant family’s survival story and a lineage of oppression and segregation as the speaker, the poet herself, grapples with her family’s complicity in a Caucasian-only land covenant. Faces of Fishing Creek is a brave and necessary collection, attempting to own one small corner of America’s murky, racist history."
— Emari DiGiorgio, author of Girl Torpedo and The Things a Body Might Become
Kyle Laws is based out of the Arts Alliance Studios Community in Pueblo, CO. Her previous collections include This Town: Poems of Correspondence with Jared Smith (Liquid Light Press, 2017); So Bright to Blind (Five Oaks Press, 2015); Wildwood (Lummox Press, 2014); My Visions Are As Real As Your Movies, Joan of Arc Says to Rudolph Valentino (Dancing Girl Press, 2013); and George Sand’s Haiti (co-winner of Poetry West’s 2012 award). With six nominations for a Pushcart Prize, her poems and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Granted residencies in poetry from the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), she is one of eight members of the Boiler House Poets who perform and study at the museum. She is the editor and publisher of Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.