Life Drawing Class

Published: 4/1/2009

A preview of the title poem from the collection...

Life Drawing Class

She offers
herself up, nude
Nervous, curious
A pretense
of grace
As the pose is set
denial of
A ripple of chill
across her clavicles
Spasm in the great toe
and down the
Knotty rope astride
the spine
A siren while
artists gaze
In the name of art
amazed by the strange
And wild thing where
bogs and shapes
And coastlines form
a pool of light
On her full exposure
a shimmer
Only she knows
as shiver
When she holds
Recalling love
left in the marrow
Shadows and bold lines
for shoulders
Holding up hope
treasured breasts
That fed another
and a belly
Of striations and
the lived-in look
Of where
her babies grew.

Praise for Life Drawing Class

"The graceful poems in Kathryn Gahl’s new collection titled LIFE DRAWING CLASS are an undeniable pleasure to read. Skillfully crafted, they reveal a firm control of pace, color and tone, taking the reader on an impressionistic journey through a high-risk world–from the poet’s girlhood to her coming-of-age in uneasy times, through marriage, motherhood, bereavement–and finally coming to rest at a point in mid-life marked not only by grief and loss, but also by life-affirming gain and enlightenment. The elements that Gahl consciously borrows from the visual arts–line, shape, shadow and light–are all realized here with delicacy and considerable passion, ‘recalling love/left in the marrow.'”
— Marilyn L. Taylor, Wisconsin Poet Laureate

“Art, even poetry, has its stars and character actors, both of whom essentially mirror themselves. However, there is no type-casting Kathryn Gahl, as LIFE DRAWING CLASS, this, her first collection, attests, with no two poems quite alike, each having assumed the mental of truth for the moment. Readers familiar with Walter Pater’s ‘To burn always with this hard, gemlike flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life’ will discover a kindred spirit here, the difference being never in the degree of energy the poet projects but in the many roles she assumes from sometimes sassy farm girl to savvy and sophisticated sensibility.”
— Karl Elder, author of Gilgamesh at the Bellagio

"...the colorful Zystra watercolors that coordinate with her poems to provide us line (e.g.,farm kid, sexual experience), shape (e.g, why a poet), shadow (e.g., harsh criticism), and light (e.g, the answer to what/how a person chooses artistic expression)."
— Russell Gardner, Jr. for Verse Wisconsin