The Porcupine of Mind
by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer
Broadstone Books

"The old man sinks
back into the hammock
of his body. Do I
really need all this?

In her first full book of poems written in English, The Porcupine of Mind, by Stoykova-Klemer (A Pushcart Prize nominee) opens this lively collection of imaginative verse with two science-themed love poems, reminiscent of Emily Dickinson's keen ability to bond scientific illuminations with universal themes of life, love, and ritual...

He starred down at his mitochondria,
but his ribosomes blushed pink.

Having grown up in Bourgas, Bulgaria, before immigrating to the United States in 1995, Stoykova-Klemer translucently bridges this collection of intelligent and sensuous poems across two languages, two cultures...

You'll never pronounce the word
love the same
after you've kissed
a foreigner.

As a master stylist, many of the Stoykova-Klemer poems in this collection reveal their fresh perspective and meaning in a single reading...

Wear me, said the lifesaver
when it floated up to me.
Think of me
As another ring

While other poems delight readers with their poignant paradoxes, complexities and poetic nuances as Stoykova-Klemer's engaging poetic techniques unfold upon closer inspection, and multiple readings...

When you kiss a grape
you are his
whole world. Your tongue
surrounds him
as if he were hard
candy. The two of you work
as partners.

Throughout this entire collection, readers encounter an assembly of poetry that strikes all the right notes of vivid imagery, symbolism, allegory, simile, metaphor, allusion, personification... no less than a well-played poetic symphony!

And in keeping with the same shades of darkness and sparks of ironic wit demonstrated by another influential Serbian-American poet—and former U.S. Poet Laureate—Charles Simic, The Porcupine of Mind displays an energetic stream of word play and highly accessible poetry that is rich with emotion and honesty from beginning to end.

Indeed, it is the accessibility of Stoykova-Klemer poetry that shapes this entire collection—an accessibility rooted in her obvious love of words. Perhaps poet W. H. Auden said it best... if you ask someone why they want to write poetry, and they say they have important things to say, they are not a poet. But, if they say they like hanging around words listening to what they say, then maybe they will be a good poet. Clearly, Stoykova-Klemer is a "good poet"...

How did you get to be so beautiful?
I asked the word cynical.
How did you get to be so stupid?
she answered.

Spanning the themes of love, loss, leaving, regret, discovery, immigration, and new possibilities, The Porcupine of the Mind will delight both novice and seasoned readers of poetry with its spontaneity. Additionally, Stoykova-Klemer's seemingly effortless ability to translate her creative —and bilingual—flashes of consciousness into truly inspiring and addictive poems, quickly identifies her as poet who knows how to invigorate her poems—and readers—with the strength of he her thoughts and emotions.

Other literary works by Stoykova-Klemer include her first book of poetry, the bilingual Air Around the Butterfly (Fakel Express, 2009) and The Most (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Indivisible Number (Fakel Express, 2011, Bulgarian only). Her stories and poems in English, and Bulgarian, have also appeared in a number of worldwide journals and presses.

The only thing greater than great poetry, is a great poet who recognizes what some poets and scholars of poetry believe to be the true function of poetry, its social and teachable moments. That premise is evident in Stoykova-Klemer's founding in 2007 of her weekly poetry and prose Poezia Workshops—which are open to the public in Lexington Kentucky where she now lives. She is also the creator and host of Accents, a radio show for literature, art, and culture on WRFL, 88.1 FM, Lexington. And in 2012 she launched Accents Publishing her "independent press for brilliant voices."

The Porcupine of Mind by Katerina Stoykova-Klemer—a women it has been said that "writes, thinks, and dreams in two languages and believes wherever she happens to be is her home"is an inviting collection of poetry that not only welcomes readers, but makes them feel at home with her words.

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