The Art Of Coming Undone
By Christie Collins
The Art of Coming Undone is American poet Christie Collins’s first full-length collection of poems, which includes artwork by Dutch artist Erna Kuik.
At its core, this collection is a celebration of the self, of imagination, and of reinvention. Based largely on autobiographical events that trace a life-changing move from Louisiana to Wales, Collins’s poems also weave a narrative about the different kinds of love that shaped her story: love that is lost, unrequited love, the possibility of new love after heartbreak, and perhaps most importantly, learning to love and value the self. This collection reminds readers that while loss, setbacks, and struggles are an inevitable part of life, they are not defining. We each have the power to reshape – and retell – our stories and to start again.
Dr Christie Collins was born and raised in the American South, and she has recently moved back to Mississippi after a decade away. She currently teaches courses in writing and literature at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. Prior to her return home, she lived in Cardiff, Wales, where she completed a Ph.D. in Critical and Creative Writing at Cardiff University. She has also taught at Louisiana State University and Cardiff University. Her critical and creative work has been published in Stirring, Phantom Drift, Kenyon Review Online, North Carolina Literary Review, Entropy, Cold Mountain Review, Appalachian Heritage, Poetry South, Poetry Wales, Still: The Journal, So to Speak among others. Her chapbook titled Along the Diminishing Stretch of Memory was published in 2014 by Dancing Girl Press. Christie’s creative work often focuses on questions of place, belonging, and connection, on visual art and a predilection for ekphrastic projects, and on finding a magic, otherworldly spark in the seemingly unremarkable.
Erna Kuik is a photographer, visual artist, and writer from the Netherlands.
"lushly lyrical, erotic, witty and redolent with love both lost and abiding. In these bittersweet poems, vividly illustrated with the gynocentric art of Erna Kuik, Collins seems to say that home may be where we arrive when we lose what we thought of as ourselves, that only when we come undone may we find, in the loss, our creation." —Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore
"an utterly compelling book. In these rich, sharp poems, paired with Erna Kuik’s evocative images, Christie Collins crafts a clear-eyed portrait of an ending, a fiercely bright new beginning, and the through-the-fire reckoning both require. This collection, too, is a kind of fire—these poems spark and flare and hiss and glow. They burn. And they light the way." – Catherine Pierce, author of Danger Days
"Christie Collins's dazzling first full-length collection of poems will play you like an Aeolian harp, as her story of loving and losing touches your own near misses. Whether lamenting the craftwork of bees, or learning about perennial flowers from nuns, the body and mind are engaged in natural curiosity, whilst longing for an imagined future in the swirl of a mystic's tea leaves. The ekphrastic relationship between the poems and Erna Kuik's artwork conveys women contemplating relationships, which complements the way this book invites you into its intimacies and idiosyncrasies." – Claire Williamson, author of Visiting the Minotaur