Nostalgia for the Criminal Past, by Kathleen Winter

ISBN: 978-1932418446

Kathleen Winter's first collection of poems is formally brilliant, life-hurtling, and volunteers language with a quick edge that advances ideas almost with abandon. This is the kind of work William Hazlitt would have reserved the word 'gusto' for--it is all a great pleasure. --Norman Dubie

By turns witty, gutsy, and passionate, Kathleen Winter's Nostalgia for the Criminal Past pulls the reader into a capacious verbal terrain.  "Penumbra's a conundrum, / conundrum is penumbra. / An umbrella's humdrum," one poem playfully opens.  There is in these poems a subtle, delicate narrative of loss, grief, and survival, but as a poet trained in the law, Winter knows that any truth, like joy, is rare and precious.  "Joy is brief. / It turns away, extends its limbs, / feathered, reptilian," one speaker opines.  These poems are the nimble, profound products of experience alchemized into wisdom.  Nostalgia for the Criminal Past is a dazzling debut. --Cynthia Hogue, author of Or Consequence and The Incognito Body

Nostalgia for the Criminal Past is Kathleen Winter's complicated, insightful, intriguing, sometimes sad and always artful song. --Deborah Bogen, Judge, Elixir Press Poetry Awards

Kathleen Winter was born in McAllen, Texas. Her poems have appeared in AGNI, The New Republic, Field, The Cincinnati Review and other journals. Her awards include fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Virginia G. Piper Center, and the Prague Summer Program. She is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin; Boston College; the University of California, Davis, School of Law; and Arizona State University. Winter lives with her husband in Sonoma County, California, and teaches writing at the University of San Francisco.

From Nostalgia for the Criminal Past by Kathleen Winter

Nostalgia for the Criminal Past

Those days, we never saved. We never went to a bank except
to rob it. The getaway car had no parts to control smoke, our
escape route lost in a plume of poisons. We hid on a hill
where nobody went; it shot straight up. Even animals were
 winded when they got to the top--raccoons, red foxes passing
out on the gingerbread porch. We let our hair grow wild, we
never paid taxes. There’s nothing that wouldn’t grow there,
soil seething with worms, fog slithering over the oaks, sun
going and coming erratically--an occasional god. It was
warm sometimes, dogs snoring on the beds, on the green
stuffed with surfaces of birds. Like the children, we
were naked: it gave us time to read. Not having to dress, to
do laundry, we built silos of time in which to drown.