Poetry ~ Kristen Lang
When I write poetry, it's you I have in mind. The person who will find the words I have worked on. Will we understand each other, and what will happen inside you as you read.
I am writing to you from Tasmania, Australia. There is a mountain behind me, trees around me and a dog snoring lightly to my right. Our lives will be different, but poetry offers a way for us to listen, in this turbulent world, to what we also share.
The poetry on these pages has been written in response to relationships that are central to all of us - relationships with ourselves, with those beside us, and with the Earth we are part of. It seems more urgent than ever that we find ways to honour all of them.
Poems from the books I have published - ecopoetry, poems about love and family, poems for the anthropocene, poems for the billions-of-years history of Earth - can be found under the titles below.
Best wishes, Kristen
The Anthropocene – what can poetry do in this epoch defined by human impact? The poems in Earth Dwellers challenge our human-centred world view, embracing perspectives which set the intimate delicacy of life forms against time scales that span millions of years. These are deep-breath poems, full of touch and awareness, consolidated by their commitment to the ecologies that envelop us. Asked where we come from, the poems speak not of nations or tribes but of mosses, mountains, oceans, birds. Asked where we are going, the poems refer not to rockets or recessions, but to the biome and our relationships within it.
“These strikingly original, beautifully crafted poems reveal a profound, delicately self-effacing talent gifted with a finely tuned sensitivity. This is truly a must-read collection of fresh, haunting poems.” Peter Boyle
“This is rich, strong and vital work, full of concise, finely conceived and surprising images, its macro lens as extraordinary as its telescopic one, poem after poem here offering a deep wisdom, an engrossing meditation upon our profound interconnectedness, the world and all its history alive in Blake’s proverbial grain of sand.” David Brooks
“Kristen Lang’s patient and precise language is a potent testament to her relationship with nature. It’s a connection both considered and felt, cerebral and embodied, at once infused with ripe wonderment and honed by deep respect.” Heather Taylor-Johnson
The Weight of Light
“Few Australian poets have fused the mystical and the real with such skill and audacity. The Weight of Light is a collection to savour.” David McCooey
We are present beside others, amid the complex sublimities of the natural world, and within the weight of our flawed yet exquisite sensitivities - the poems in The Weight of Light are a giddy exploration of the self in relation to the world and the stars beyond. Here, even the smallest sources of light carry hope; music and love, snow after fire, a heartbeat, a squirrel and the skull of a wombat receive equal adoration.
“Kristen Lang’s affinity for the natural world pulses everywhere in The Weight of Light like a drumbeat.” Sarah Holland-Batt
“The Weight of Light asks you to listen with your bones. It refreshes you
with its intelligence, care and clarity.” Jill Jones
The Weight of Light contains 88 pages of poems and was published by Five Islands Press in 2017. It was long-listed for the Margaret Scott Prize in 2019.
The book is available from the author, via PayPal, for $25 (AUD), including postage. Five Islands Press is no longer operational.
Through poems about family, love and being human, SkinNotes digs intimately into the strengths and fragilities of our closest encounters. "Blood harmonies", "The fragile mind", "Being here" and "The heart" are the chapter titles of a collection as generous as it is inquisitive. These are tender, revealing, and probing poems.
“Hearing these poems sing off the page is like listening to Pablo Casals play cello.”
“Readers will surely delight in the subtle, varied command of SkinNotes.”
SkinNotes contains 116 pages of poems and was published by Walleah Press in 2017.
The book is available from the author, via PayPal, for $20 (AUD), including postage, or from Walleah Press.
Let Me Show You A Ripple
Poems and Photographs
“Kristen Lang is a poet of astonishing intelligence and outstanding lyrical warmth. When I think of what she has already achieved and of what she will achieve I experience a beautiful moment of quietness: she is a gift to the world, and we need her. She has shown me a ripple in a way that makes me realise I’ve never wholly seen one before. Let me show you a ripple –visually and linguistically– is a purely beautiful achievement. It is a book I would give to every friend to whom I wished to give something that expressed essences, essentials.” Peter Bishop
“Kristen Lang’s work is reflective yet humorous, immediate yet questing.” Jill Jones
“an assured and original talent.” David McCooey
Let Me Show You A Ripple measures 20.5 by 19.5 cm with 148 pages of poems and colour photographs.
The book is available from the author, via PayPal, for $15 (AUD), including postage.
Daniela Brozek Cordier reviews SkinNotes for Plumwood Mountain:
"SkinNotes is a wonderful book. It might very well herald an epistemological shift into a different way of looking at humanity’s place within a vast, beyond-human world. In ways that remind me of Virginia Woolf’s writing, Lang seems to offer such an accurate portrayal of humans and the world that encloses them, that much will always remain to reward future reading and re-reading."
Martin Duwell reviews SkinNotes and The Weight of Light for Australian Poetry Review:
"Kristen Lang is a terrific addition to the cast of Australian poets, someone in whose poems we can feel the pressure of complex thought and who is craft-sophisticated enough to explore the best ways of making poems out of embodying these ideas."
Amelia Walker reviews The Weight of Light for TEXT review:
"The Weight of Light matters to our world and in it. Without ever preaching to its readers, it reminds us of all we could be doing to live more gently, more sustainably. It is a book that needs to be read and re-read. I recommend it most especially for courses in creative writing and/or literary criticism, where it could serve as an illustrative example of how contemporary poets address crucial issues of our fragile, precious world."
Alison Clifton reviews SkinNotes for StylusLit:
"This is a poetry of the here and now, present in soul or spirit, and encased in the warm contours of a breathing body. …Kristen Lang is an urgent poetic voice singing a salutation of love, recognising her kin in the breathing and beating of the souls and hearts around her. The triumph of this collection is that it holds in its tight clutch of imagery and themes so much variance, so many truths, so much nuance. This is a fresh, dynamic poetry for the reader to return to again and again."
Nathanael Pree reviews SkinNotes in Cordite Poetry Review:
"One characteristic of complex and original works is their confidence to operate outside established genre. SkinNotes contains Confessional and Imagist overtones without being dependent on either sensibility, creating enough space to manoeuvre and draw breath. ...[There are] moments of spellbinding clarity and quietude that stop the reader short in sheer admiration. ...a resonant tour-de-force."
Mary Cresswell reviews *The Weight of Light" in Plumwood Mountain:
"The poems in this collection have an extraordinary range of topic and of voice... Reading the book we drift through various stages of being without any noticeable jolt as we go from one space to another. Everything makes sense in its place."
For additional information, or to ask about readings and workshops (group or individual), try an email.