When the Cicadas Return












by Alexandra van de Kamp


With her allusions to fine art and her own impeccable sense of color and texture, one might be tempted to say that Alexandra van de Kamp has a painter’s eye. But that cliché would overlook the exquisite temporal dramas she attends to with such relish: no, hers is a cinematographer’s vision, one deeply invested in what lies before and after, in and around and beneath her generous panoramas. Kiss/ Hierarchy is a book of romances and transformations. It evokes the passions that lead us into darkened theaters and from there into the intrigues and enchantments of great film. On one hand van de Kamp resuscitates the golden age of Hollywood, and on the other she imbues everything she studies, even mammograms and head colds, doll furniture and devoured tulips, with the glossy, resonating power of an auteur’s gaze.

--George David Clark, author of Reveille, winner of the Miller Williams Poetry Prize from the University of Arkansas Press, and editor-in-chief of 32Poems

Bees are “scribes of daylight,” a bird “lifts packages of wind,” and night is falling “diligently behind…pencil-long vegetables.” Even human teeth have something to do as they “dream their way through the language they are forced to chew.” This brilliant poet, in her second full-length collection, certainly has her hands full! Her Kiss/Hierarchy is so alive that it fills us with urges and longings to be workers in her meadow, reading and reading, so that we too might be transformed.

--Janet Kaplan, author of Dreamlife of a Philanthropist

Kiss/Hierarchy is one of the most original collections I’ve read in recent memory. These are poems first and foremost in love with language, imbued with music. But there are themes, too; however, there is humor in the doubt. Casual sadness in the great joy. And energy: so much of it! The work is unfailingly precise and memorable, but there’s also just enough coloring outside of the lines to keep the reader surprised, or a little troubled, the way you feel watching a gifted surgeon get creative with a scalpel—relieved at how beautifully it works, while still catching your breath, and always very intrigued.

--Laura Kasischke, recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and author of The Infinitesimals (2014)

I've been a fan of Alexandra van de Kamp's poems ever since I read The Park of Upside-Down Chairs, but, having been privileged to read Kiss/Hierarchy,I can now declare that I am a rabid fan. These confident and arresting poems all shine! Dear Alexandra, dear astounding collection of poems: Brava!

--Bill Yarrow, author of Blasphemer







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Le Pont de Passy et la Tour Eiffel

Dear A—

Bonjour Tristesse


Alexandra van de Kamp lives in San Antonio, TX, and is the Creative Writing Classes Program Director for Gemini Ink, a literary arts nonprofit. She also teaches intensive online poetry workshops through The Poetry Barn. She is the author of The Park of Upside-Down Chairs (CW Books 2010), and several chapbooks, including Dear Jean Seberg (2011), which won 2010 Burnside Review Chapbook Contest, and A Liquid Bird inside the Night (Red Glass B ooks 2015). She has been published in numerous journals nationwide, such as Denver Quarterly, Connecticut Review, and The Cincinnati Review. For six years she lived in Madrid, Spain, where she co-founded and edited the bilingual journal, Terra Incognita. You may see more of her poetry and prose at: alexandravandekamp.blogspot.com