Abloom & Awry on the Launchpad

As I head down to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference, where poet-extroverts get to bask in their elements, I am excited to share news of Abloom & Awry, my third poetry collection, which will appear in early April.

Here’s what the one-pager says about it:

With the eye of a journalist and the heart of a caretaker, Kelley shares her love of words, fireworks, kites, sea salt caramels, metaphor, and humans. Armed with a generative impulse, her poems pay close attention to the dark, moving through it with wit and affirmation….Journalistic sparseness and accuracy are framed with childhood’s wit and curiosity to roll around in decay, music, and love.

You can order advanced copies here!

I already have two readings planned, and am looking for more. There’s this one on March 26 at the Bernardsville Public Library, where I will be interviewed by Julie Maloney of Women Reading Aloud, and on home turf, at Words Bookstore in Maplewood on April 22. Hope you can make it!

CavanKerry Press, which is publishing Abloom & Awry, has been nominated for a Small Press Publisher Award, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they win!

A New Poem in Alaska Quarterly Review

I’m grateful to the refreshing and engaging Alaska Quarterly Review for publishing one of my poems in their current issue:


There are angels for separating the soul from the body at death,
angels who invented carousels and all the new French fashions.
There’s one just for the 26th of each month, for honey, sexuality.
Aban is your guardian ten months before death, another protects

fifth children. In heaven’s meadows upon meadows, one angel
governs confusion, one does nothing at all til the second coming,
one rules warm winds. The keeper of fiery triplicities seduces
the regent of Wednesdays, and they’re all new every morning,

born through every Godbreath, created by each fresh human sin.
They knit cotton breasts for cancer survivors, telling corny jokes.
They feather insights to the bored, quietly advise on cars to buy.
One’s pregnant with death, one protects finches, but none felt like

mine, until I spotted a green sea turtle, blunt and kindly, slowly
lifting its arms in hosannas to the quicksilver surface shining down.

Introducing Abloom & Awry!

I’m very excited to announce that my third collection of poetry, Abloom & Awry, will be published next spring by CavanKerry Press, one that I have aimed for over the years, a Jersey press that makes some of the most handsome poetry books out there. I am pleased to be joining the company of Joan Cusack Handler, Teresa Carson, Baron Wormser, Nin Andrews, Ross Gay, Mary Ruefle, and John Haines, among others.

The title poem of the collection won The New Jersey Poets Prize two years ago, and some of the others have appeared or are appearing soon in Belletrist, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crab Creek Review, Cream City Review, Connecticut Review, the Journal of NJ Poets, Poetry East, NYtimes.com, Stillwater Review, The Southwest Review, and US 1 Worksheets, among other journals. They’ve also appeared in anthologies like The Crafty Poet, Fire on her Tongue, and Intimacy by Jacar Press.

I am looking forward to proofreading and doing readings and carting boxes of books around. I’m also looking forward to making way for the new by getting rid of the old – if you haven’t read my two earlier books, The Gospel of Galore and Precise, please consider buying them now! I’m offering free shipping if you buy both, for $35. Or a 15 percent off sale, for either. Click here to buy Precise, and you can order either through that link. Thanks!

Check out One!

I’m honored to have my poem on my intergalactic imaginary godmother in the new publication, One. Here tis!

Sunday Night. Learned “Dark Family Secret.”

Now I know. My godmother is a rogue planet.
You want proof? Her gravitational pull
made me type “rouge planet” (she pretends
to be French.) She visits irregularly, moonless

nights only. She brings bonbons and bon mots.
She has no ball, no chain, no light, no anchor.
She revolts against the fact of revolution itself,
roams on an elongated, hard-to-track course,

pulling dark bodies toward her at their peril.
So few of our circle have ever seen her, ever
known her nicotine kiss, her gifts of glowing
stones, her heady confidings that we form,

indisputably, the universe’s true center. But
when we call her we go straight to voicemail.
Men fly to her for affairs that must never (so
always) be unearthed. Throbbing red, she can

magnify the brightness of any body she glides
in front of, a feat known as microlensing. No sun,
no weather, her temperature stays uniform by inner
volcanoes, by waters thick with never-discovered life.

For each Milky Way star, we can expect to count
one hundred thousand such orphaned nomads,
her sisters, rounded by their own gravity, spinning,
self-contained, confiding, adoring, free. I just wish

she would have children – I would love god-cousins,
naked skydivers saying “hold my beer and watch this,”
formed by collisions with the cardinal-numbered rocks
we’ve found, these earliest seconds of our looking up.

Tina Kelley’s second collection of poetry, Precise, was published in 2013 by Word Press, which also published The Gospel of Galore, a 2003 Washington State Book Award winner. She co-authored Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope, (2012) a national bestseller, and won the 2014 New Jersey Poets Prize.

Beloit Poetry Journal Poems

This weekend I read through the entire new issue of Beloit Poetry Journal, and really really enjoyed it. It was the kind of poetry that primed the pump and made me sprout ideas for future poems, and I’m grateful to the editors for 1) having published some of my poems in the past and 2) making them available online, as I discovered recently.

I don’t know what year these were published, as I can’t tell from the site. Here’s the link, and here are the titles:

“Looking Only for ‘Yes” (based on trying to pick up some of the Thai language while in Thailand)
“From The New York Times” (a found poem) and
“The Pornography of Recent Times” (trying to fit bad environmental news in my head, way before bad environmental news became commonplace.)

Hope you enjoy them!


Here’s where you can buy an autographed, inscribed copy of my second book, out recently from Word Press in Cincinnati. $19 plus $3 shipping. Drop me an email if you want it inscribed to anyone, and/or if you’d like to buy The Gospel of Galore, for $16 plus $3 shipping. Free shipping if you purchase more than one book. Thanks!

precise cover





Hum In Me, Muse. No Words, Just Thousands of Arpeggios

Grateful to Disquieting Muses Quarterly Review for publishing this in their summer issue, here!

Hum In Me, Muse. No Words, Just Thousands of Arpeggios

The butterfly book has escaped from the air, doused itself in magnifying brine.
All the pebbles from all the kaleidoscopes in North America are here, darting

between ads for every resort, each kite of each kid in China, spun down the drain.
Pennants and banners, gardens, insignia, the open-air fruit markets in all five boroughs,

the flower shops of Thailand, each pot of clown paint in Europe, every diamond facet.
Wrasses and tangs, threadfins and triggerfish, Picasso, Gaugin, Parrish, and Porter,

humuhumunukunukuapua’a, the fancy-butted eater fish, the rock-hiding daisy fish,
the turtle whose fins hosanna, the octopus turning into a living rock, godbeams, lolling

of surface, drum of my breathing, slap of a wave. Try to paint or photograph an opal.
Iridescence eludes film, can be seen only while floating, not moving, breathing, above.