Poetry, paperback, 114 pages, from Civil Coping Mechanisms.
“In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen, Kelly’s poems are crafting the next new reality, because what-ever duende would have had to offer, in terms of wisdom, has passed. This isn’t about getting so close to death we become new. This collection is about what happens after death, after absence, and how one lives on without merely having to move forward. Kelly writes ‘inside every man / who lies still at night waiting for change / is a man who can’t stand the thought of it.’ Each poem is a breakup with nostalgia. Each poem is an invitation to the reader to accompany him in his search, to be conflicted with him and to come to terms with the burden of creating new normals and new moral codes. It’s about the transfiguration of ideas because the change that these poems seek in flesh conclude that no flesh is left available. This is what most haunts Kelly. When he writes, ‘Yes, we are each machine. / It shouldn’t have to be this way,’ we are called upon to continue living, despite nature, uniformity, dependability, and growing older. These poems were designed to haunt you, the lyric and cadence casting spells, keeping the reader in their trance long enough to finish their storytelling. The voice will fill you and will feel familiar, as if an outstretched arm is saying ‘I’ve got to tell you something over a beer.’ These poems in their want and in their searching and in their fear will capture you because each one is a piece of you, too. Kelly writes: ‘When no one is awake, it sometimes seems / you have been given a second chance.’ This is true, insightful and heart-wrenching work that asks the reader to do the heavy lifting, to make transformations with me.”
-Keegan Lester, author of this shouldn’t be beautiful but it was & it was all i had so i drew it
“Devin Kelly’s visceral poems thrust us into the rich journey of growing up, confronting the cause and effect of the ordinary violences we inherit and internalize. They accuse with the kindest finger, locating what makes and breaks a family, the turbulence of masculinity, the tender ache of loss, memories that scar and shape into a searching conscience. The question that surfaced over and over while reading: in myself, in others–what can and should be forgiven? Within Devin’s quiet church, his poems whisper that perhaps the answer is everything, to which I am relieved and I am grateful and I say again and again: amen.”
-Caits Meissner, author of Let It Die Hungry
“Devin Kelly’s new book, In This Quiet Church of Night, I Say Amen, is astounding for its grace in language, its meditative rhythms and the story of love he tells in poem after poem where ‘beauty must follow beauty.’ Kelly has an exquisite ear and in these pages we find the rhythm of being here that is music. Fathers, brothers, friends, rivers and birds fly by ‘all so close to being illuminated, so close to being gone.’ Loss haunts every word of this book and makes the poems crackle with gratitude and wonder. His faith in the imagination is praise for the world he inhabits and his poems insist we are all here together. I don’t know a book I love more.”
-Steve Scafidi, author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer, For Love of Common Words, The Cabinetmaker’s Window, and To the Bramble and the Briar