Turbulence & Fluids
poems by karla. k. morton (2010 Texas Poet Laureate)
ISBN: 978-1-956440-33-1 paperback $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-956440-34-8 ebook $9.99
Immediately in karla morton’s poetry collection, Turbulence & Fluids, the tables are turned as the waters of the Earth speak first. Not only do they speak in their power and vulnerability, but in relationship to the humans that use and so often abuse them. This tells us the speaker of these poems is in close relationship to the natural world, especially water’s lifegiving necessity in the dry Texas of the poet’s childhood. In “Fish Multiplication,” with a reverence and gratitude found throughout the book, morton writes, “I hope when they pull their chairs / up to the table, they taste / the prayer of thanks / that flowed through those gills…”
Equally powerful in these poems is the force of the speaker’s voice, which pulses with color, range, passion, and ironic humor. This voice dares us to live fully, to crack open our hearts, to chance it all: “Dare to be lotus. / Dare to live down among this mucked mire. / The world needs the hope of your struggle. / Do not be consumed / rather be the fight, / be your one perfect bloom…” Also paramount for the poet is the family in community, even the four-legged variety: watering new sod beside her father in an unforeseen drought; moving him to a care facility, his guiding voice ever in her ear; making chow-chow in a hot kitchen; lifting and mourning the beloved dog (“be dove-like with his soul”). Equal to this expansive voice and heart is an overarching spirituality, a Christian echo that never proselytizes, but girds and deepens the speaker’s worldview.
It’s fitting that the book flows poem to poem, with no section breaks to interrupt the movement as the speaker recounts not only the geographical but ancestral waters from which she rises, as in “Shine Shine Shine” and “Washita River”: “What magic breaks a river / through earth and flint and time; / what makes our lives eternal / but each legend of bloodline.” We each have this river of time and history and blood within us and, despite being drenched in grief as our losses mount, we—and these poems—travel and sing with it and in it.—Linda Parsons, author of Candescent and This Shaky Earth
karla k. morton is a professional speaker, award-winning author, photographer, the 2010 Texas Poet Laureate, and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters. Described as “one of the more adventurous voices in American poetry,” she has been featured on Good Morning Texas, NPR, PBS, ABC News, CBS News and in countless newspapers, blogs, and magazines. Find her online at texaspoetlaureate.com.
We have loved karla k. morton’s work for years, so it brings us great pleasure to share this new collection of hers. In it, you will find wit and wisdom with a Southwestern flair. And she might make you look at things in a new way, maybe a kinder way, but make no mistake, she’s speaking for the earth here, and the earth is not happy!