The title of this lovely and masterful collection, The Next Hunger, refers to the spiritual hunger that grows out of a “world of craving.” The lyric forms of these poems shift and change as the poet traces the links between the beautiful and tragic, the grace-filled and desolate, in all our daily devotions—the apprehension of Mystery in every worldly thing leading, finally, to self-forgetfulness.
The Next Hunger is the perfect title for this exceptional first book, for two reasons: 1) She’s not writing about lunch, and 2) It is, all at the same time, a book of human yearning, a book of gratitude, and a book of joy; these poems are made things, and they sing songs I’ve never heard before, and they’re splendidly sung.
author of Dog Star Delicatessen: New and Selected Poems
Kimberly Cloutier Green commands language in much the same way that pre-dawn dark alerts the most secretive, hidden birds that it’s time to start singing. The daring, love-filled and beautifully crafted poems of The Next Hunger gracefully sidestep all the self-aggrandizing, linguistic pyrotechnics, ego competitions and political posturing that seem to be de rigueur for most poets these days. The poet here fights to and succeeds in staying awake and aware. She is willing to bear witness to anything that she has fully experienced: watching her husband garden after dusk, imagining her own death, the examination of human spirit ‘as jailbird,’ the grief-soaked yet elegant elegy for a friend dying of cancer. She labors hard so that you might truly be absorbed into each poem. One of her many gifts to you is that you enter each poem with ease, and no matter how painful the subject matter might be, you leave with a feeling of having been blessed. Absolutely no ego ballyhoo here. The poet vanishes into each poem the way wick and wax transform into flame. Though most of us might wish for a Handbook on How To Live A Good Life, there is, of course, no such thing. But The Next Hunger does something of much greater value. It jumpstarts your curiosity, it replaces loss with wonder and it fills you with deep gratitude for life exactly as it is.