Excerpt from


Listen: there was a goat's head hanging by ropes in a tree.
All night it hung there and sang. And those who heard it
Felt a hurt in their hearts and thought they were hearing
The song of a night bird. They sat up in their beds, and then
They lay back down again. In the night wind, the goat's head
Swayed back and forth, and from far off it shone faintly
The way the moonlight shone on the train track miles away
Beside which the goat's headless body lay. Some boys
Had hacked its head off. It was harder work than they had imagined.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly at The Academy of American Poets

Brigit Pegeen Kelly at the Poetry Foundation

Audio of Brigit Pegeen Kelly reading three poems

Pamela Hart reviews The Orchard

The poems in this collection are full of disquieting images: broken statues, rotting vegetation, overgrown and untended fruit trees, animal children, ancient gigantic carp and other weird beasts. It’s the landscape of fable and myth. Thus, Kelly’s project isn’t about telling it like it is. Nor is it about telling all. Her poems don’t sing of references to popular icons. Nor is she participating in the current narrative craze for stories of triumph over pain. The work of this collection is to lead the reader deep into the region of archetype, of dreams, to spend time in “the oldest part of the woods. / It is a dark unsettling place and I am drawn to it,” as the speaker describes her own underworld journey in the poem “Pale Rider.”



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Brigit Pegeen Kelly