|BROADSTONE BOOKS presents
THE PORCUPINE OF MIND
Katerina Stoykova- Klemer
Katerina Stoykova-Klemer grew up in Bourgas,
Bulgaria and now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, where she began
her writing career after immigrating to the United States in 1995
and working as a software engineer for over a decade. Her first
poetry book, the bilingual The Air around the Butterfly (Fakel
Express, 2009), won the 2010 Pencho’s Oak award, given
annually to recognize literary contribution to contemporary
Bulgarian culture. She is also the author of The Most (Finishing
Line Press, 2010) and Indivisible Number (Fakel Express, 2011,
Bulgarian only), and the editor of Bigger Than They Appear:
Anthology of Very Short Poems (Accents Publishing, 2011). Her
stories and poems in English and Bulgarian have been published
in journals worldwide and have been nominated for the Pushcart
Prize, Best of the Net Award and AWP Intro Award.
"The best revenge is writing really well. So we are gifted with these witty timely poems. This is
about tearing apart, the misbelieving in such process and pain; and the artistic stitchery that makes
things whole. These are muscular words of intelligent humor and tenacity."
Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent
Review of Books, August 2012
"Katerina Stoykova-Klemer's new book, The Porcupine of Mind, is bristling with intelligence,
humor, and fresh perceptions. She has many ways of combining the ordinary with the fabulous.
She can write a love poem to a single cell organism, or turn an encounter with an annoying fly
into a fable of empathy. Read this marvelous book, and you will find yourself laughing out loud.
You might also find yourself looking up from these pages refreshed and enlivened by your
encounter with such a charmed vision and singular voice."
Greg Pape, author of American Flamingo
"If you are a new reader of Katerina Stoykova-Klemer’s poetry, you are in for a delightful
experience. Those of us who have read her work know that Katerina’s poems are like no one
else’s; they are smart and weighty in subject, but as with the best poetry, full of lively play.
Opening The Porcupine of Mind is like sitting down with one of those people who provide the
best possible companionship. Readers, prepare for a rollicking good conversation, full of wit,
intellectual hooks, and winking flirtation."
Kathleen Driskell, author of Seed Across Snow
"With droll wit and brainy imagination Katerina Stoykova-Klemer turns a large life and a long
journey into the vibrant, astonishing miniature poems in The Porcupine of Mind, the first full
book of her poems in English. These rubies, which she creates from potatoes, miseries,
candles, mistakes, kisses, and lost friends, shine in surreal splendor. Tempering her extreme
compassion is the prickly, matter-of-fact attitude of a Bulgarian dark humorist. Although we
know her from a chapbook and from translations, now it’s time to savor fully Katerina
Stoykova-Klemer’s protean imagination: one that can hold a conversation with a single cell
or observe the heave in the body of a housefly. The Porcupine of Mind announces a vital new
voice in contemporary American poetry.
Molly Peacock, author of The Paper Garden:
Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life's Work at 72
In her latest collection of poetry, Katerina Stoykova-Klemer fearlessly probes the
“porcupine of mind,” the prickly defenses of the psyche, to lay bare the experiences of
love and leaving, regret and discovery, severed roots and new possibilities, all from the
perspective of an intellectually voracious and passionate wanderer between two
languages and cultures. There are poems here that dazzle with inventiveness, as well
as poems expressing such deep emotional honesty they catch the reader’s breath.
In the tradition of authors like Conrad, Nabokov and her fellow poet Charles Simic,
master stylists in their adopted English, Stoykova-Klemer explores and delights in the
possibilities of the language. In some poems words themselves are the characters and we
listen in on their surprising conversations. But in a larger sense the entire collection is a
dialogue with language; and just as she warns us
You’ll never pronounce the word
love the same
after you’ve kissed
readers will come away with a new appreciation for the potential of poetry to speak the
truth after they have embraced Stoykova-Klemer’s verse.
Paperback, 112 pages
Publication Date: May 7, 2012
$14.50 retail price
|Praise for The Porcupine of Mind
She is Deputy Editor-in-Chief for the international journal Public Republic. In 2007, Katerina
founded Poezia, weekly poetry and prose workshops open to the public and based in Lexington. She
is the creator and host of Accents, a radio show for literature, art and culture on WRFL, 88.1 FM,
Lexington. In January 2010, Katerina launched Accents Publishing, "an independent press for
Katerina writes, thinks and dreams in two languages and believes wherever she happens to be is her