Kathleen Willard undertakes the ultimate road trip—a one-month exploration and encounter of the entire subcontinent of India. Willard instantly and utterly fell in love with the people, culture, arts and literature of India and returned home forever changed. Each day, out of sorts, she encountered both the beauty and the poverty, the ecstatic and the solemn and her poems document her transformation and uncertainty.
“Departures and arrivals, the endless parade of bodies seeking landings, seeking flight, the “and and” of life and death, indiscriminate, making march, this is the unstinting brocade of Kathleen Willard’s This Incendiary Season. Structured dialectically, through near and far, home and away, a dying mother and a crush of Hindi strangers, Willard’s poems do not flinch at the threshold of human suffering. Indeed, they thrive, they travel, charting out how globally connected are the burning ghats of the Ganges to the front step bougainvillea. It’s generosity in the face of grief, poetry’s incendiary gift. “An oasis, a moment before,” the river turns, the crowd stirs, ‘my preposterous, my abyss—“
Colorado State University
Associate Professor of Poetry
“Kathleen Willard is captured by the untranslatable wonder that is India while her mother fights cancer an ocean away. Her tribute to her mother conveys a whole range of experiences: the sight of chai-brewing sidewalk tea stalls, encountering the Taj Mahal, Jain temples in the deserts of Rajasthan, noting the anxiety caused by the onslaught of temple beggars and her efforts to resist the impulse of turning into stone, and noting the yellowing mansions, ghosts from colonial rule. In this sensitive and perceptive chapbook of poems, her words carry us over the ocean to India and back against her concern for her mother.”
Dr. James W. Boyd
Colorado State University
Emeritus Professor of Philosophy
“Anyone who has ever hoped to outrun grief will find themselves in these lush, gorgeous poems. They confront the sterility of modern death with the bright colors, wheeling birds, and jangling silver bracelets of India. Not just a travelogue, but a voyage into loss and redemption.”
Dr. Elizabeth Cullen Dunn
Associate Professor of Geography
This Incendiary Season
Kathleen Willard’s chapbook, Cirque & Sky, winner of the Middle Creek Publishing & Audio’s Fledge Chapbook Poetry Award, is a series of pastorals and anti-pastorals set in the Rocky Mountain West documenting both the beauty and the historic and contemporary exploitation of the West.
She received her Masters of Arts in English Literature at Middlebury College and her Masters of Arts in Creative Writing/Poetry at Colorado State University. She has traveled to Kenya, India, the Azores, Portugal, Turkey and Italy. Her insatiable restlessness informs her poetry.
Her poems have been published Bombay Gin, Matter, Colere, Flint Hills Review and elsewhere. She received a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship to study and travel in India, a National Endowment of the Humanities Grant to study the writers of the New England Renaissance, two scholarships to attend Vermont Studio Center, attended the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference twice, attended the DISQUIET International Literary Fellowship in Lisbon, Portugal, and was a Breckenridge Creative Arts Artists-in-Residence in Breckenridge, Colorado. She is currently working on three book length poetry manuscripts one dealing with love and desire, one concerning nature and climate change, and one inspired by the work of Emily Dickinson.
Sarah Nolan and Kathleen Willard met during a residency at the Vermont Studio Center and began an improvisational art and poetry collaboration.
Nolan uses in her art unique fabrics, embroidery, window screen, shells, metal, text, and other found objects to create her large scale paintings and sculpture.