By Kathleen Balma
Kathleen Balma’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Montreal International Poetry Prize Anthology, and many other publications. She works as a programming and services librarian at New Orleans Public Library, where she is the founder and leader of Virtual Creative Writing Workshop—a free, intergenerational writing group for residents of Orleans Parish. From Your Hostess At The T&A Museum is her debut collection.
"In Kathleen Balma’s first full-length collection, intelligent soybeans plot to take over the Midwest, ghosts seek out psychoanalysis, embryonic Abraham Lincolns design their cabin home, and baby snub-nosed monkeys live out a lyrical and heartbreaking soap opera. Witty, fresh, whimsical and musical, From Your Hostess At The T&A Museum is one of those very rare feats, poems of both thought and song, a beguilement of both intellect and ear. I found it a joyride from beginning to end, a thoroughly smart and rewarding debut; Balma is a poet I hope to follow for years to come."–Hailey Leithauser, author of Swoop
"Kathleen Balma's debut poetry collection is a marvelous concoction steeped in myth, nostalgia, humor, and the chimerical. Sirens are juxtaposed with Dreamsicles, John Wayne rides in on a John Deere tractor, and Brigadoon and Salvador Dalí are saluted in a poem about stopping time. Punctuated with startling similes like Abe Lincoln as a “Christmas specter,” Balma’s book is “a complex amalgam of positive and negative” imagery, shining with both wit and wonder."–Simone Muench, author Wolf Centos
A ghost needs an audience or it is pointless,” writes Balma, and the same can be said about poets. “But does a ghost need a point?” she continues. No. Does a poet? Jeez, I hope not! Poems are toys, not vitamin pills, and these are full of playfulness. They’re also full of contradictions (see “Revelation at the Invisible Gun Show”), because between the contra- and the diction is where the poem is found. I won’t tell you what “the best sad thing that’s happened to me all year” is, but it’s a doozy. Read on, reader, and let Kathleen Balma free your mind.–David Kirby, author of The Ha-Ha
“A charming and refreshing collection that kindles the imagination … Balma knows how to keep readers engaged. From Your Hostess at the T&A Museum provides a “paws-on education” along with a loving look at perception and desire.” -Audrey Davis, Independent Book Review
“Kathleen Balma’s exciting and wildly inventive collection, provocatively titled From Your Hostess at the T&A Museum, pulls off that most difficult of hat tricks in poetry: In addition to being intuitive, surprising and wise, it’s also very funny. With subjects ranging from ancient Pompeii’s red-light district to genetically modified crop conspiracies to the needs of ghosts and the study of a rare breed of monkeys, Balma sends words and images in search of adventure, insight and delight. … This is an accomplished poetry collection sure to leave you wiser and happier than when you began it.” - Bluink Reviews
“From Your Hostess at the T&A Museum is an insightful poetry collection that is as funny as it is sharp. ... Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5” - Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Clarion Reviews