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In The Uncommon Nativity of Common Things, her third book, Katharine Carle presents us poems by turns raucous and religious, witty and lyrical, iconoclastic and philosophical. A tomboy become a devoted mother, she looks back to the past nostalgically but forges into her 85th year with "a joy, an exulting." A continuing undercurrent in the book is the belief that though "we re made of different colors...no one [is] below, no one above."
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Born in the vortex of the Great Depression, Katharine Redfield Carle grew up as a tomboy in New Haven, CT. Marrying early as a freshman at Wellesley College, she mothered two sons while working in cardiac research to help her husband through medical school. In her second marriage to a man she describes as "the good husband," she inherited two daughters. As owners of travel agencies with a focus on educational journeys for museums and schools, she and her husband traveled much of the world. A Christian and a Buddhist, she tries to practice the Zen proverb that urges us to "chop wood and carry water" as a way to achieve enlightenment, which for her occurs in the process of washing the dishes, writing the book, and trekking the fields. Katharine Carle's work has appeared in a number of literary journals; in the 2001 anthology produced at The Frost Place, where she was an invited participant in the Robert Frost Festival of Poetry; and in two previous books, Enter the Wood and Divided Eye. She leads a writing group at the Seabury Retirement Community in Bloomfield, Connecticut, where she also plans literary events. In 2014 she continued her life as a traveler with a visit to Yosemite National Park, where she became fascinated by the culture and spirit of the native people of that region.Review:
Katharine Carle is that rare poet who can look back at myriad memories, sweet and bittersweet, and do so without a single trace of sentimentality or melancholy. Instead, her poems are commemorations; she does not bemoan the past, but illuminates it. She speaks of the past as "parts of a puzzle" she will assemble, "And out of their jumble / there it is, the portrait / of that fly-away day / you thought had gone astray." And she does not shy away from making it clear where such veneration for life past, present, and future is born. She writes, "Oh Lord, bless us, / capable of / great evil and great good, / raise us up and make of us a light divine." I cannot recall a book with more wisdom, more reverence, more light than Katharine Carle's The Uncommon Nativity of Common Things. It is luminous. --John L. Stanizzi
These poems do indeed connect us with the "common" of life. Through her keen observation, Kathy Carle directs our gaze to an array of events, objects, people and places, then flips them over from top or bottom or inside out. With wisdom, wit, and gravitas, Kathy brings alive the ordinary and infuses it with a spirit that can open our souls as well as our eyes. --The Rev. Patricia M. Hames
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Book Description Antrim House, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1936482819