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"This is how I mother. I rock the smallest species to sleep, lullaby our deepest human apologies into their innocent ears..." It is this rocking of the smallest species--this profound attention to each and every soul in the world--which radiates from Kai's being. - from the foreword by Nicole Callihan

Mother of Other Kingdoms is a marvel, an intricate tapestry that captures the essence of motherhood in its diverse forms, offering solace, reflection, and a profound connection to the world. Coggin's poetry paints a vivid portrait of motherhood as both a noun and a verb, a force that nurtures not only the human experience but also the wild landscapes that cradle it. With each carefully crafted line, she embraces the wonders and challenges of being a mother, particularly in a world touched by loss. From the gentle guidance extended to the natural world—"Here—let me carry you"—to the intimate connections with bees, caterpillars, red-winged blackbirds, and cherished souls of departed ones, Coggin's exploration is a celebration of the inherent bond between humanity and nature. In the poem 'Is This Grief,' she eloquently captures the aftermath of death, acknowledging the transformative power of love that transcends realms, declaring, "we are of different worlds now, two kingdoms, two planes/...love has no other name." In this tightly woven collection, Coggin beautifully illustrates that amidst inevitable change, "A mother is quietly building something out of nothing." Resilient, infinite, and harmonious, "The natural world still finds a way to sing."

Angelique Zobitz, author of SERAPHIM

Kai Coggin offers us—not a book, but a ‘house of windows,’ a prism of looking from an author who declares: ‘All of my eyes are open.’ Through Mother of Other Kingdoms, we see both ‘a biosphere of bombing’ and the ‘holiness of the infinitesimal.’ Each poem is populated with the specific beauty of the world—with jewel green Monarch chrysalises, Japanese persimmons, or even the pee of hummingbird. Populated, too, with pistols, pandemic losses, and the specific ‘biography of dark’ Coggin herself has lived, the collection ultimately leans into healing, toward feeding our ‘poem-hungry hearts’ and ‘spinning the moments holy.’

Dr. Kimberly Blaeser, author of Ancient Light & Founder of Indigenous Nations Poets

 

Kai Coggin's Mother of Other Kingdoms is a beautiful collection of poems that skillfully weaves together love, grief, and awe—and always with an admiration for nature. Through a lens of tender wonder, Coggin explores her nurturing relationship with the beings of the natural world, presenting a powerful and enlightening perspective on unconventional motherhood and her role as a guardian. These gorgeous ecopoems remind us of our intimate relationship with the earth by bridging the gap between the human and the wild. Throughout this exquisite book, Coggin’s gifts for finding beauty are plentiful—to see the grace in deer that nibble her flowers, in the caterpillar named ‘little monster’ eating her fiddle-leaf fig. Yes, these are love poems to the world—to an old dog, a garden of miracles, a treasured wife, queer youth, a grosbeak, the moon, even ramen noodles—and through it all, we revel in her love. This book is not your regular read—it’s a journey to rekindle your own sense of wonder, to transform you in all the best ways. Mother of Other Kingdoms is a collection that will hold you Reader, and say, "Don’t worry, honey...You are holy. / You are sacred. / You are enough." These are poems you’ll want to read again, poems that say: "know / I love you." Mother of Other Kingdoms is a book I never want to set down.
 

Kelli Russel Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides

 

Whenever I read a poem by Kai Coggin, I feel something transcendent—her words resonate and reverberate within my soul. She keeps elevating us. A poem is a sacred place, a quiet agreement between the poet and the reader, the spoken word and the receiver—it is indeed holy. The hum in my chest from a moan, the flesh popping between the snaps in my fingers, my whole body moved through these poems. Kai is indeed a Mother of Other Kingdoms and while reading her offerings, I became a daughter of other moons, a spiritual tether bound to her poems, a line that will never break. ‘A mother is quietly building something out of nothing’… as most mothers do, and Kai’s words build crescendos in my spirit, as I recall her lines singing through my daily life. Between each line there is a symphony of nature and resistance, the harmonizing tension and release of a poem. While reading I wept, celebrated, and met my curiosities with surrender to Kai’s words—they are indeed holy. With so many beautiful moments to count—black snake, earthquake, fox, unicorn, hummingbird baptism, son flowers— it’s a jungle of blessings. Mother of Other Kingdoms is both a blade of steel and of soft grass, piercing and bending my heart to remember to love myself and others in any way that I can. Kai is an archetype of poetic genius, and this book is her opus, truly a masterpiece. Kai’s “heart is fertility itself,” and I am a daughter/sister/auntie to her verses. I am grateful for the reminder of how powerfully tender love can be. May we all mother and nurture the worlds around us. Asé.

Crystal C Mercer Watson, author of A Love Story Waiting to Happen

Kai Coggin’s gleaming collection of poems, Mother of Other Kingdoms, is a testament to the power of language to sing our hearts open ‘despite the world breaking at every line.’ Wide-ranging in its subject matter, this book explores urgent topical issues like race, ancestral trauma, and body image and also dives deeply into longing, nature, and love. More than anything, Coggin has written an ode to living this life, a life that is flawed the way a diamond is flawed, its inclusions unable to dim its bright beauty. In poem after poem, wild with love, she zooms in on our world and ‘consecrate[s] / the mundane / into / the sublime.'

Francesca Bell, author of What Small Sound

 


Kai Coggin’s Mother of Other Kingdoms is not only nurturing and healing, but reading this collection is akin to the practice of mindfulness needed in these troubled times. Her poems are handfuls of peace, moving rains over cracked earth—they hold us, sometimes on fragile branches, sometimes after an explosion, always with love. Coggin is one of our most treasured voices.

Edward Vidaurre, author of By Throat, By Miracle: New & Selected Poems

 

M O T H E R  O F  O T H E R 

K I N G D O M S

 

MOTHER OF OTHER KINGDOMS is a tender, inward-exploration of motherhood, amidst the chaos and destruction of human life on earth. These lyric poems center on mothering the more-than-human world—plants, flowers, animals, birds, insects—all with their elaborate taxonomies and delicate identities. As a Master Naturalist, Kai Coggin brings us a different perspective, seeing through a magnified lens focused on the thriving invisible worlds that others overlook. She takes a heart-forward turn deeper into her quiet forest home, invites the reader in, and treads soft footprints in poems, intersecting stories of the vibrant natural world, motherhood, love, loss, ancestry, grief, wonder, joy, and impermanence. Where her recent books have been overtly political, MOTHER OF OTHER KINGDOMS slows us down, reminds us to breathe, amplifies the voices of caterpillars and honeybees. The world is breaking before our eyes, yes, but there are still birds, still flowers, still trees…for now. Coggin does not shy away from the fires, she shows us the smallest miracles before they burn, takes your hand and says look closer. These poems are intimate, close to the skin, infinite and infinitesimal—this collection mothers worlds we so desperately need to hold.

Publication by Harbor Editions, Earth Day, April 22, 2024.

 

* * * First Edition Personalized & Signed Copies Available If You Order HERE * * *

 

Mother
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