by Laura Romeyn
Kara Billey Thordarson (K.T. Billey), grew up in rural Alberta, Canada. I first met Kara when we were both students in Columbia University's MFA program. Over the years we've workshopped each other's poems, co-taught a class, and shared countless walks up and down the length of Manhattan. As a fellow prairie girl, I was initially drawn to Kara's poems for their insistent rurality. But what I admire equally—and perhaps learn even more from—is her speakers' refusal to censor themselves. These are poems that present both the body and the landscape as challenging, animalistic, even dominating, and are at once bold and flexible in their approach: "What's the point/of freedom/of speech/if I'm not open/to any conversation?" Kara's poems confront grief and desire head-on, and ask readers to consider the physical and emotional complexities of being a human person.