patricia Kirkpatrick


Patricia Kirkpatrick received the inaugural Lindquist & Vennum Poetry Prize. Her book, Odessa, selected by poet Peter Campion and published by Milkweed Editions in 2012, was awarded the 2013 Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. She is the author of Century’s Road, poetry chapbooks, and books for young readers. Her work appears widely in journals, among them Prairie Schooner, Poetry, and Agni Online, and in anthologies, including Robert Bly in This World and She Walks in Beauty, edited by Caroline Kennedy. Her awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Loft- McKnight.



“Among the many talents that contemporary American poetry offers, Patricia Kirkpatrick’s Odessa shines a fierce white light. This book provides a fusion of unsentimental, realist fidelity to the subject and intense, metaphorical imagination. The speaker of these poems tells the story of her suffering from a brain tumor, and her survival, with a precise and steely focus. At the same time, she leads the reader into a landscape that’s both identifiable as the contemporary Midwest and also enchanting, ghostly—the terrain of a lucid dream.

The emotional power of Kirkpatrick’s poetic narrative corresponds here with her mastery of craft. In nervy sentences and phrases, in sinuous and firm lines, all of which show the imprint of deeply lived experience, this poet proves Robert Frost’s claim, ‘No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.’ I am convinced that Odessa will move its readers for many, many years to come.”
—Peter Campion, author of The Lions and Other People, 2012 Lindquist & Vennum Prize Judge