An exciting new voice in poetry. Dipped in Black Water is a book full of wisdom, compassion, and vitality. Peper writes with verve and a delight in language, and her exact descriptions and surprising images—having a religious experience in Ikea, breaking up with a lover while watching a dead dog float down the Mississippi River —catch us off balance, wake us up, and make us see.
—Ellery Akers, author of Practicing the Truth
Mother, father, daughter and also the past and the present are woven into this compelling book. Kate Peper‘s poems are both sharp and intimate as she writes about nature, human nature, and science. In many of these poems, her focus is on loss and on medical imperfections of the body, including her own. Yet still, always, her work has light, hope, and a sense of the triumph of the spirit. “Happiness, stay next to me,” Peper writes. It does, and reading her poems helps happiness stay near me, too.
—Susan Terris, Ghost of Yesterday
Dipped in Black Water arrives steeped in the fascination—you could almost call it Gothic—with deviations from the norm, particularly the exotic imperfections of the body. The anomalous, the freakish, the rejected, the doomed—”the dark thing in the corner”—are the figures by which Kate Peper measures her own flaws and empathy and mortality and, especially, resilient spirit. After a deeply unsettling diagnosis, she articulates a kind of prayer: “Happiness, stay next to me//See, I’ve made a place for you on the bench,/where the cherry petals fall slowly.” Beauty and terror (and gratefully, humor) abide in these poems in a kind of uneasy yet enduring equilibrium the reader does not soon forget.
—Thomas Centolella, Winner 2015 Dorset Prize for his manuscript, Almost Human, to be published in 2017 by Tupelo Press