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Distributed for CavanKerry Press

Pelted By Flowers


With a Foreword by Elizabeth Bradfield
Kali Lightfoot’s kindergarten teacher told her parents that Kali had “a well-developed sense of beauty and can skip with both feet.” This proved prophetic for a life that has included a number of careers and passions—Lightfoot has earned a master's degree in physical education, worked as an executive and a teacher, served as a wilderness ranger, managed educational travel, and provided body-oriented psychotherapy. After gaining her sobriety and coming out as queer, Lightfoot returned to poetry at the age of sixty-five, earning her MFA at age seventy. In a debut collection of poems that favor a narrative style but also experiment successfully with poetic forms, Lightfoot writes in a voice that is by turns wistful, comedic, and grave. After a long career, she has come late and happily to a life in poetry.

96 pages | 6 x 9


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Pelted by Flowers, the debut collection by poet Kali Lightfoot, is a wide-reaching portrait of a life in the world, touching on personal memory and identity without shying away from nature, society, or even the philosophical. . . . [The collection] takes the reader with deceptive ease through time, space, themes, even the personal and the external of the poet's 'much worried, much loved life.'”

M. P. Carver | Lily Poetry Review

"These are poems full of startling images and hope."

Mom Egg Review

“In Pelted by Flowers, Lightfoot carries us through a life well-lived, populated by places and people we come to know—a grandfather in nineteenth century, frontier Dakota, ‘a drunken fucker…and a girl—in every town;’ Lake Michigan thunderstorms we see, smell, hear, feel; the painful throes of adolescent self-discovery; mature lesbian relationships; appreciation for a grandson, hands sticky with ice cream. In always vivid language, she transports us to a church supper: ‘forkfuls of lemon pie;’ and carries us into the wild, where she spends weeks alone as a ranger, or with groups, waking in tents, feeling ‘damp in our bones.’ This book is a lovely sweep through an existence often ‘pelted by flowers,’ and finally achieving a readiness for letting go, a well-earned acceptance in her final contemplation, of what comes next: the becoming ‘as dust drifting on a solar wind.’ As I put down the book, I experience a sigh of contentment, as if I, too, have just been pelted by flowers.”

Laura Foley

“Lightfoot's debut collection is deeply felt and resonant. Lightfoot turned to poetry after several careers, ranging from psychotherapist to forest ranger, and the poems testify to a long life exceedingly well-lived. All of these past lives are explored with great panache in her poetry, and one finishes reading her with the conviction that she has at last found her truest calling in the making of verse.”

David Wojahn

Table of Contents

Cousin Margaret’s Friend, 1955
Puberty, 1956
Because earth is tilted 23½ degrees
At Seventeen
George Gary (1867–1926)
Brain Tumor
A Study in Consequence
Petit Mal
The Day Before
The Day After We Heard the Results
Paula, Dying of Huntington’s

Jazz Hands
First Day in the Wilderness Area, Mount Adams, Washington
Wilderness Ranger
Gotchen Creek Guard Cabin, 3 a.m.
Clement Powell Butte, Grand Canyon, September 3, 1872
Mountain Dharma
In Service to the Forest

Shoulder Season
Voice of Solitude
Donkey Riding on Lesvos
Wilmington, North Carolina
Ninety Degrees
Haibun—Salt Marsh at Sandy Neck
Cape Cod Meander
Late Autumn

Career Change
At Roslindale Station
Family Court
Three Seals
Reading a Lesbian Romance Novel on the Train to Salem
On the Bench above Spring Point Light, Portland, Maine
My Affair with Alicia Keys

Icarus Takes a Window Seat
Dear New York Times
If any man or woeman be a witch, (that is hath or consulteth with a familiar spirit,) They shall be put to death.

Queer Nobility
(1944– )
I Tune in News of the World
Treadmill . . . with Poetry
Melting Polar Ice Caps
Star Stuff

Notes on the Poems


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