Kathleen Flenniken’s first collection, Famous, was winner of the 2005 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and published by University of Nebraska Press in 2006. It was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and named a Notable Book of 2007 by the American Library Association (ALA).
“Surely it is rare to come across a poet of familiar contemporary experience like Kathleen Flenniken, whose imaginative, convincing tropes, sense of rhythm and sound, sharp intellect, narrative instinct, and resistance to cliché transform that experience into art so compelling that it makes us wonder how have we come to doubt it could be done?” –Marit MacArthur, The Bloomsbury Review
“There is not a shred of pretentiousness [in these poems]…. Famous is a genuine treasure.”– Barbara McMichael, The Seattle Times
“There’s a winning surface modesty here: it isn’t Abraham Lincoln who merits the poem, but his oft-maligned wife; not Edna St. Vincent Millay, but her stay-at-home husband; not the Taj Mahal, but the everyday International House of Pancakes. Still, in Flenniken’s hands, these occasions rise toward urgent news—as when, in ‘Shampoo,’ the memory of a mother’s declining health soulfully becomes one with the headline about a submarine’s sinking—until the leastmost of us are transformed, poem by poem, into the famous.” —Albert Goldbarth
“Whether it’s buying orange cotton capris or thinking of Robert Lowell’s last taxi ride, eating at the House of Pancakes or staring into the deep, knowing gaze of a newborn, Famous makes it new again. Exploring the external trappings of contemporary life as well as the internal cadences of a mind that wants at once to be ‘shocking and irresistible,’ Kathleen Flenniken takes us into the slipstreams of fame, where our daily dramas play themselves out in the ‘wild uncoded rhythms’ of the imagination.” —Judith Kitchen