Kyle Potvin’s chapbook, Sound Travels on Water (Finishing Line Press), won the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award. She is a two-time finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and received a commendation in the 2019 International Hippocrates Open Prize for Poetry in Medicine. Her poems have appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, Tar River Poetry, Whale Road Review, The New York Times, JAMA, and others. Her debut full-length poetry collection is coming from Hobblebush Books in September 2020. Kyle is co-founder with Tammi Truax of the Prickly Pear Poetry Project: Processing the Cancer Experience Through Poetry, a workshop for survivors and caregivers. She is an advisor to Frost Farm Poetry in Derry, New Hampshire, and served as assistant director of the New Hampshire Poetry Festival for five years. Kyle lives with her husband and two sons in Southern New Hampshire.
"Most poets who attempt poetry about tragedies, both personal and global, are satisfied with using the subject itself to do most of the heavy lifting—as if just mentioning the word “war” or “cancer” is sufficient to carry the reader along. Kyle Potvin isn’t satisfied with this kind of easy victory. Her poems, with humor, grace, and metaphor, allow the reader to accompany her into a deeper understanding of what it’s like to confront cancer. Through her finely chosen words and craft the reader recognizes the human condition confronting mortality without giving in to despair. Of course, there is much more in her work to admire than poems about cancer. She tackles the familiar subjects of family, food, and even laundry, with wit and, again, an ability to make the commonplace a door into something universal and deeply moving.
There is much beneath the surface here. Dive in."
-- Robert W. Crawford
"Beneath Kyle Potvin's capable pen, simple objects (soup, a bike ride, a wave, a jellyfish etc.) transform to wonderful metaphors. The speaker in these poems is a modern woman dealing with cancer, being a mother, a wife, a professional woman. The language in the poems is spare, crafted, clear-- the form, mostly formal with a scattering of free verse. Issues of mortality run through many of the poems, but they are never somber or depressing. If there is a sense of chaos here, form contains it. If there is despair (but there is never despair), there is also acceptance, appreciation for life, and “hope that travels like sound on water.” I read these strong poems three times; I will surely read them many more."
-- Patricia Fargnoli
"Kyle Potvin is a brave, smart poet. Brave enough to take on the difficult and downright frightening subject matter, and smart enough to know when and how formal verse can provide a safe structure for doing just that. Whether evoking loss through the memory of a dead loved one or dancing literally and figuratively with a child in the dark, these poems are haunted by cancer, persistent as a wave. Through sonnets, villanelles, and free-verse, Potvin dares take on tumors, chemo, and a woman with hairless head; on the highway, she takes on cancer itself, riding in the car behind her. Even sphere-shaped fruit inspires certain angst, until “hope travels / Like sound on water.” Bravo for this poet who fears love might be lost like a glove slipped from a pocket, but savors the idea of her life’s last bite, be it carrots or cream or a T-bone steak."
"I'll take what you bring, she dares this world, "And devour each bite."
-- Meg Kearney
Sound Travels on Water is available HERE.
Kyle is donating $3 for each chapbook sold to a breast cancer awareness/research organization
(Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and/or American Cancer Society).
Cover Art: Michelle Baker