Kristin Berger ~ How Light Reaches Us

How Light Reaches Us

Kristin Berger

Kristin Berger was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in the surrounding suburbs and Northern Michigan. She received her BA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1994. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, For the Willing (Finishing Line Press, 2008), and co-edited VoiceCatcher 6: Portland/Vancouver Area Women Writers and Artists (2011) with Toni Partington. Kristin is the recipient of writer residencies at The H.J. Andrews Forest, Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, and Playa. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Oregon Book Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


Kristin Berger’s How Light Reaches Us is a finely woven, image-rich exploration of self and landscape that gets to the very core of what poetry is about: language borrowed from the land, yet language of a voice so true that there could be none other. Berger’s language, then, is both lovely and lucid, leading us to “that sharp time of sage / blooming from my skirts,” to the deep knowledge of place found only by keen understanding and her even keener pen. In reading her book, we can’t help but become our own wardens of the land because her lyric is so sure, creating in us not just the “proof,” as she writes, but the necessary yearning “of this strange love / loping the steppe like hunger.” It’s a hunger nourished throughout the book but not sated until the last fine poem. It’s a hunger we need.

—Simmons Buntin, Editor-in-Chief, A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments

In her recent collection, How Light Reaches Us, Kristin Berger offers “. . . a thousand collaborations between night and the world . . .” The body is a landscape and the elements of the earth seek touch in Berger’s meander through the territories; tremulous, aching for an absent other. It is hot there, icy in “the creep of winter,” wrecked with contradiction, so ready for something just ahead, almost seen, where “a train, far off, is as insistent as a rusted tragedy.” It might be painful but (oh my) “I have tasted you my whole life.” Surrender to it, reader, because only then will you find “the one wide and waiting in sweet ambush.” Only then will you see the light.

—Sandra Kleven, Editor, Cirque: A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

Céja, Thalweg, Jaral, Desire Path: line of trees edging a meadow, underwater divide in a stream, scrub plains, shortcut through a wild place. This book contains all of these. Her vision heightened by time spent in the Oregon outback, Kristin Berger conveys and re-creates the deep sensuality of landscape. The whole beautiful collection is a love poem to our physical world.

—Penelope Scambly Schott, author of A Is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson
   Disturbs the Commonwealth, Oregon Book Award

Book Size: 6" x 9"
Pages: 71
Binding: Perfect Bound
ISBN: 9780692647998               14.00 shipping in U.S. only