“All the Birds Awake joyfully demonstrates how, like the salmon, all our lives “are swirling forward.” Carefully negotiating the terrain between an “I” who inhabits an intensely felt present along with a keenly remembered past and a third-person “woman” whose distance allows for conscious reflection, Gayle Kaune moves from chronicle to insight. She takes us out far and in deep, striving for that state of mind where all “conclusions are gone” in favor of open-ended wonder.”
“Ms. Kaune has accomplished something with All the Birds Awake rarely seen in contemporary poetry—she has amplified, without altering, the voice of those events, objects, and creatures that are so quiet they’re often overlooked. And in the process enriched us with the lessons they so modestly bear. These poems read like stories shared between friends around a common table—at other times like prayer whispered by soldiers under fire. This is an unbearably wise book filled with a holy reverence for the beauty and terrors of everyday life. I am reminded, reading these poems, of the moments when Nature out of everything known produces something brand new. All the Birds Awake is a book every pilgrim on the road to a better understanding of their humanity should carry in their pack.”
“This mindful poet notices, as war begins, a bowl of white roses beside a bed. She writes: “In such small/gestures we state/our intentions to survive/on a planet that survives." Gayle Kaune faces mortality in the company of a friend who kayaks shortly after a surgeon stitches in her new kidney. Another friend lives deliberately and well, knowing cancer is taking over her bones. Thirty years of marriage—surprises, sorrows, delights.These vivid poems show us ways to live and ways to face the end of living.”
“Gayle Kaune’s poems are wise, sad, funny, exuberant, and compassionate. Their quick leaps and changes of camera angle tug at the mind, while her language—colloquial yet rich with metaphor—often moves us. She writes of children who are “hallelujah fruit pies,” a father who “sank into the silky fathoms of his death.” In grief, she reaches toward something larger than herself. These poems, balancing light and dark, offer us abundance. Kaune’s faith is that life is “like that 14-headed fountain...Drink from all the faucets, the world brings you luck.” This is a celebratory book that speaks to us intimately yet with tact, craft, and music. Kaune has done something special, writing a book that appeals both to poetry lovers and to a wider audience.”
“Gayle Kaune is published widely in literary magazines. Her chapbooks include Concentric Circles and N-Sid-Sen Star. Her book Still Life in the Physical World was published by Blue Begonia press. She has worked as a teacher and psychotherapist and lives with her husband in Port Townsend.