A Shared Life
"Katherine Soniat's third collection of poetry and winner of the Edwin Ford Piper Poetry Prize, A Shared Life, is the kind of book that makes one want to write poems or at the very least, read hers again and again."—Hollins Critic
"A multi-faceted gem maker, Soniat has command of both lyric and narrative poetry. She can either capture the quick brushstrokes of a poem lyrically or tell its story. And like Robert Frost she knows stories are the path to any reader's heart. Soniat long ago left her apprenticeship and moved into a blacksmith shop of her own, where she continues to hammer out distinctive, striking poems. For she is a wordsmith, and this is necessary, poignant work. Indulge yourself."—New Laurel Review
"Soniat's work is remarkable for its combination of control and force, deceptively clear in tone—the depths and complexities are all there under the lucid style. She is an excellent poet, original by the nature of her work, rather than by strained effort."—Josephine Jacobsen
There is a controlled, unpretentious constancy to Katherine Soniat's passionate, wise poetry that reminds one of the language of Elizabeth Bishop. Yet her voice is singular; there is an elegance of line, a centered quality that makes the poems more courtly than visceral. One tends to trust what is given in these beautifully rendered images and this gentle music.
The poems are particularly crafted, partly meditative, yet the poet handles larger themes easily and with grace, without the shrillness that sometimes seems common in our time. Her gift for metaphoric language is evident. She has an even-tempered, deeply intelligent mode which carries from poem to poem.
An April bear
plunges spray from the watercress stream—
hunger, the first awakening of any.
His yellow teeth open, flash with it,
and the seasons pass away.