“In this spectacular debut collection, Brenda Yates reminds us that “bodily” knowledge is also a worldly knowledge—that is, an understanding of our own shifting circumstances—as well as a recognition, a true knowing, of our transience upon this earth. These poems are resplendent with praise for the world’s bounty and yet equally compassionate for our daily failings. With the power and richness of song, Brenda Yates’ poems ask the questions that accompany those answers every body fears to know.”
—David St. John
“Brenda Yates’ brilliance: a disarming, absolutely forthright telling of the world's sorrows and its innumerable, itinerant joys. With a naturalist’s eye Yates builds poems from botany, genetics, philosophy, history, astronomy, anthropology—awe-driven poems, each image lifted and illuminated by its inveighing loss, “no / period, no exclamation to indicate the end of something, / just one foot in front of the other as always, on the way / to this place—a sidewalk after work, heading home.” Bodily Knowledge marks what is ours for a while. It is a work of clarion beauty.”
Brenda Yates grew up on military bases. After living in Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Japan and Hawaii, she settled first in Boston, then Los Angeles. Her work appears in journals including Askew, Brain of Forgetting, Chaparral, Cider Press Review, Coe Review, DASH, Eclipse, Ilanot Review, Illuminations, In Posse Review, Kattywompus, Mississippi Review, Mixitini Matrix, Pearl, Princemere Journal, Sliver of Stone, Spillway, StepAway Magazine, and in Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach), City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press), Manifest West (Western Press Books) and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press). A Pushcart nominee and winner of the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Poetry Contest, she also won a Patricia Bibby Scholarship and honorable mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation Poetry Contest.