Kelle Groom "Spill" Reading & Book Signing

Join East End Books Ptown as we welcome Fine Arts Work Center Summer Progrm Director Kelle Groom for a special reading, book signing & reception. 


Kelle Groom's latest collection, Spill, maps an ever-shifting terrain of absence and profound loss with lyric intimacy, generosity, and necessity. These poems are imaginatively and aesthetically restless, exploring an interior landscape of memory while also recognizing that we live in a world of souls layered in trouble and delight. Groom's poems often counter-balance pain with a nuanced sense of humor, a humor born of great attention, and this, in turn, rises from a deep well of empathy. Early on, Spill promises — “If someone must saw open/ my chest I want all this light to be what spills out.” Kelle Groom promises a gift of light, and the poems in Spill make good on this promise. — Brian Turner

This book is an offering, an attempt to capture the quicksilver nature of consciousness, of what it’s like to move through our world of burdens & joys. In “The Face of Jesus,” Kelle Groom offers this: they believed the children had been sent / to help them better learn to love, which lifted / me out of my own body for a moment. Be warned: you will find yourself — in all your glory & in all your confusion — in these poems.  — Nick Flynn

Kelle Groom’s newest book of poems tells it slant, as we are tipped into her world with a hand that seems both inconsolable and utterly aware. These are poems charged with her singular imagery, (stitched down by her expansive, ravishing lines), and this work of being both inside and outside a body, a room, a door, a house, is how we leap with her, as if we’re always on the verge of some fairy tale, familiar but without end, all while her heart is populated with a certainty about uncertainty, and as she tries to find what she has lost but holds ever so near. — Sophie Cabot Black

When I finished reading this urgent, restorative book, I wanted to turn to Kelle Groom — because it felt as if she were really there — and say, “Thank you for the honor of letting me stand inside this so-large heart while the world went on spinning in its unforgiving, totally forgivable way.” No joke. Some rare books you actually get to rest inside of, protected by the writer’s trust and wisdom. This is one.  — David Rivard

In Kelle Groom's Spill, I finally understand why love is always the third phrase we learn in a new language after we learn goodbye. Here, home is a coast, birds appear like visitations, and the heart is a door the ocean stutters through. These poems break me open, but then let language heal around the wound. For Groom, nothing — not even love — is unspeakable.
— Traci Brimhall

She has the colour of my eye,
She has the body of my hand

— Paul Eluard, trans. Samuel Beckett

She has the Kansas City of my open window
She has the halogen of my bent blinds
And her hair is in my hair
She has the fresh breeze of my borrowed flower sheets
She has the freestyle of my squeaky metal bed coils
She has the sonic boom of another’ s blood beneath me
She has Any way you want it that’s the way you need it outside
her window in the summer dark
And her hair is in my hair
She has the breaking point of my hard plastic pink flipflops
She has the hypnosis of my shuffle to the kitchen for coffee
She has the conversation of my black caterpillars in their fur
coats, curling uncurling by the door last winter,
hello, hello
She has the song and dance of my rage turned against the self
And her hair is in my hair
She has the touch and go of my fear
of death by emotional starvation
She has Bachman Turner Overdrive playing Takin’ care
of business
outside her window & a man who says:
We’re gonna mix it up we’re gonna find a sixth person we’re
gonna get trashed

And her hair is in my hair
She has the Santa Ana of my sense of basic flaw
and unlovability
She has the atavism of my narcotism
And her hair is in my hair
She has the jet lag of my pocketbook
She has the sonogram of my happiest childhood memories
She has the frailty of my recollection
She has the ultra-red ultra-violet ultra-sonic ultra-short
ultra-mundane ultra-montane ululating ultimatum
of my solitude
And her hair is in my hair

An open door is an invitation
Spirit if you don’ t have land what are you
What was my cove
before the door of my throat
I kept breaking irreplaceable things
One night, the front door — hinges rusted
by salt and age — detached, opened into my arms like the lid of a coffin, or
a body I could barely hold, had to lay down on the deck.

I was thinking about why souls have bodies,
what can a body do that a soul can’ t,
and about the Amish or Mennonites, the ones whose

children were so sick with the same disease
that struck generation after generation,
until finally one doctor figured out how

to help them. But while he was figuring,
he asked them about the disease
and their kids, and the people said

that they believed the children had been sent
to help them better learn to love, which lifted
me out of my own body for a moment,

reminded me of when a church responded
to my request for money for some of the homeless
people in my town. I opened their response,

sitting in my closet office
with tiny bugs trying to drink the water
out of my eyes, with the small oblong window

in my door like on the doors of the insane,
the impounded, so someone can see in
to be sure the one inside hasn’ t hung herself,

but small enough that she can only see
the outside world as the size of an envelope,
when I opened the church letter

and read it, I was so surprised that they thanked
me for being the face of Jesus. I thought how
can I be the face of Jesus, I’ m not even that

nice,  and I’ d certainly had many unkind thoughts
about my co-workers just that morning
especially about the woman built like a truck

who was always trying to run me down.
But though it seemed an over-the-top thing
to say, like naming me Pope or Cardinal,

I realized that a spirit would need hands
to touch someone, and that the person
who has those hands and that body can be flawed

and sick and crazy, selfish and withdrawn,
and sad, and still be an instrument of love,
like when a musician gave up

on teaching me to play Summertime,
and simply laid his hands
on top of mine, banged my fingers into keys.

Event date: 
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Event address: 
389 Commercial St.
Provincetown, MA 02657
Event Image: