In Rise Wildly, poet and journalist Tina Kelley writes with precision, heart, and humor. Touching on matters such as marriage, child-rearing, and caregiving for her mother and her earth, Kelley’s poems betray an unabashed affection for big words and small children. As a journalist, she has heard and told hundreds of stories, and like all reporters, values facts and the psychological heft behind them. Her mind catches on shiny facts and phrases that she gathers in combinations that can surprise, delight, and inform. Both reverent and irreverent, but always aiming for accuracy and empathy, Kelley explores the darkest corners, then lifts her eyes high.
The poems in Rise Wildly touch on stories from the front row seat of Kelley’s life, especially in her role as caregiver. Written with reverence for the vicissitudes of being a mother, wife, and daughter, Rise Wildly touches on it all: birth, childhood, middle age, old age, death, and their epic combinations. Musings on fact, fiction, music, nature, and family are relayed with humor, grief, joy, and adoration.
TinaKelley’s earlier books include Abloom & Awry, Ardor, Precise, and The Gospel of Galore. She is the co-author of Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope. Kelley reported for the New York Times for a decade, and her writing has appeared in Poetry East, Southwest Review, Prairie Schooner, and The Best American Poetry 2009.
— Eric Hoffer Awards
“Throughout Rise Wildly, Kelley’s elixir of ‘Vitamin Awe’ (the apt title of one of her poems) imbues dailiness with the magic of attention. Kelley’s deceptively simple questions and instructions bring us to our senses: ‘Count how often each year you let rain fall on your face.’ Rise Wildly is both an extended love poem and a prayer of gratitude for a world that, as Kelley reminds us, is as precarious as it is precious.”
— Rachel Hadas, author of Love and Dread and Poems for Camilla
“In Rise Wildly, Tina Kelley wows us with her infectious wonder of the earthly and the divine. She is the queen of the cool fact, mistress of the miraculous. We learn that there are ‘100,000 undersea mountains, only a thousand of them named’ and that ‘a baby giggles, on average, 400 times a day.’ With humor and musicality, she invites us to consider that “It didn’t have to be this way. Snowflakes could’ve been dull.” Horrible things happen. There are “dozens of blistering ways to die,” and yet here she is, reassuring us that the statue of Saint Francis will continue “presenting his heart to the light.” These are poems our times demand: reverent, awe-inspiring, and utterly holy.”
— Martha Silano, author of Gravity Assist and Reckless Lovely