by Kai Coggin
Publication date: April 22, 2016 Earth Day!
6 x 9 in | ISBN 9780692683712
Kai’s wings are wide open and soaring in her second poetry collection, WINGSPAN. A catalog of fight and flight through life, Kai invites her readers into the innermost parts, where wing tuft meets flesh, where flesh meets bone.
WINGSPAN is a book of spirit, movement, mirrors, activism, love, and the fluttering song of a woman who is coming into her own beauty and beingness. Coggin’s poetic measurement in words, WINGSPAN holds earth and infinity between its feather tips.
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Kai Coggin’s first collection, Periscope Heart, was the spectacular debut of a poetic voice that the world needed to hear, a classically educated, peculiarly modern scholar with a cosmopolitan outlook and an irresistible southern charisma; it was a book that her editor described as ‘the sound of wings opening.’
Her second book, Wingspan, takes the next logical step and launches her into brilliant and beautiful flight. She dips and soars through sensual and poignant autobiography; she tackles relevant, current societal problems like a raptor tearing into racism, body shaming, and gender identity oppression. Again, she demonstrates her agility, grasping classic images like the lips of a lover or the emptiness of grief on one page, then scooping up themes like #blacklivesmatters by their hashtags. She blends currency and radical activism with a steady, timeless devotion to the art and beauty of lyric poetry
It’s hard to follow a truly successful debut; it was a feat too difficult for Harper Lee, Robert Pirsig, or Emily Bronte. Wingspan not only lives up to the high expectations set by Kai’s first collection; it surpasses them on every level. If you’re a returning fan, you won’t be disappointed. And if this is your first time meeting Kai Coggin, I have good news for you— you’re about to take a flight you’ll never forget.
—Del Greer, Author of Forgotten Phone Numbers
Wingspan is broad enough, compassionate enough, to summon and shelter readers who are often left outside the margins of the literary realm. In poems which challenge us to live with greater openness and courage, Coggin addresses the natural world, the spirit, and women’s embodiment. She offers several lush poems addressed to a lover and, in part, to the reader as well: “I have spent decadent lifetimes waiting to be yours, /waiting to be in line to the throne of your mouth.” This is a book built for usefulness and delight.
—Diane Seuss, Author of Four-Legged Girl
Kai’s voice transcends earth and travels into the universe while pulling readers inward, toward their inner selves. Her words are bright, warm, and sensual. Her poems are invitations to seek your best self from within—not necessarily an easy stroll, but a journey all the same.
—Trish Hopkinson, Author of Pieced into Treetops
Kai Coggin has opened her wings wide with Wingspan. Join Coggin on this journey of poetry that has her not only opening her wings and inviting the world in, but also peeling away every layer she’s accumulated down to the marrow. Her second full-length collection of poetry fights and flies with light and language that is needed to face the harshness of life. It is a catalogue of love, pain, activism, spirit, desire, beauty, evolution, and with pieces like Presidential Tears, Black Boy Down and Changing My Own Name, it is unabashed truth—the type of brutal truth that the world requires to move forward. This book seals her place as one of the most important QPOC voices in poetry today. With Wingspan, Kai has grown and morphed into a poetry powerhouse.
—Sarah Frances Moran, Founder & Editor of Yellow Chair Review
American author Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” Kai has done just that. We put ourselves out there, we risk ourselves with our art, and we in turn seek out the artists who do so. As Kai writes, “This is how we recognise each other, when we are looking with the eyes of our Souls.”
—Braja Sorensen, Author of Yoga in the Gita | Lost & Found in India
Wingspan is a book about becoming, transforming, and unfurling into the fullness of selfhood in all its disparate parts.“Hug yourself,” the poet invites us, to “pull in all the skin and flesh/ so that a mountain forms/ across your chest/ from which a sun can rise,” in celebration of a totality that is hard-earned and triumphant. In her sensual, full-hearted lyrical verse, Kai Coggin takes us on a journey of self-creation, self-acceptance, and self-actualization in an exploration of her multiple identities: daughter, woman, woman of color, woman of mixed race, woman who loves women, and woman of words. In the erotic feminist tradition of Sharon Olds and Adrienne Rich, Coggin locates these acts of naming and creation within the female body in a collection that swoops, soars, and delves deeply into the complexities of race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and family.
—Wendy Chin-Tanner, Author of Turn
⌘ About the Author ⌘
Kai Coggin is a poet and author living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, AR. She holds a BA in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A & M University.
Kai writes poems on love, spiritual striving, injustice, metaphysics, and beauty. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, The Tattooed Buddha, Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, Drunk Monkeys, Harbinger Asylum, Snapdragon, ANIMA, Elephant Journal, and many other literary journals, as well as anthologized in several international collections.
Kai is the author of a chapbook, In Other Words (2013), and two full-length collections, PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014) and WINGSPAN (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016).
Her poetry has recently been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry 2015. She is the curator of Words & Wine, an adult creative writing class at Emergent Arts in Hot Springs. She is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth across the state.
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