Winner of the prestigious American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, Laura McKee’s Uttermost Paradise Place achieves a shimmering transparency and surreal potency. While many of the poems are perceived via a persona, it is ultimately the personae of perception that proscribe the pure pleasure of reading. Committed to the eye and the ear, Uttermost Paradise Place sounds a music of syllables, repetitions, recurrences, and duration. As judge Claudia Keelan writes in her introduction, “Laura McKee creates a poetics of call and response, but not in the traditional sense, as in poet to reader, chorus leader to singers, etc. These poems call to each other, syllable by syllable, and they are so pleased with their circuitry of sound and sense that readersâif they just give themselves away to the pleasure of being exactly nowhere but in the unscripted place all authentic poetry providesâwill experience the paradise the book proposes.”
I found a flight suit in the dryer this weekend.The zippers were hotter than hell when it first emergedAs if it were the machine’s inaugural attempt at creation.When it fit perfectly, I realized it was perfect.Suit, I salute you. You have changed my questions.From now on, “What will I wear?” I will wear the suit.Never again, “What will I wear?” Those pants.But what shirt?
Laura McKee earned her MFA from the University of Washington. She lives in Seattle and works at the Cornish College of the Arts.