Paperback Price: $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 1-882295-47-1

Selected Poem

In the Ghost-House Acquainted

I close the simple flowers
and bid the moon now rise
for Death is not my harbor.
And I walk among derelict combines
that they might know
and come unafraid.
In mulberry small birds sleep.
Hornets enter one by one the districts
of their hidden city.
A fence dissolves. Reappears.
Great oak lean into the darkness.
They lean into the light
of the world now upon us.
And I sing to llamas
bedded in a ditch
that the chorus preserve them
as frost presses down
with equal weight and tenor.
That shadows breathe of their own
existence. That this heart
not fail. And these hands.
And those hands. That the moon move
and the earth move
as it was in the beginning.
As I remember the alfalfa
and stacks of hewn wood—
as I remember that world
melting into this.

In the Ghost-House Acquainted

2005 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award

“. . .a voice that connects joy with holiness, and sorrow with mystery, and all of this in a language as sharp as flint and as earthborn as the lamb….In the Ghost-House Acquainted is extraordinary.”
—Mary Oliver, in her judge’s citation for the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award

“. . .laid-back, and yet elegantly formal poems…call to mind Robert Frost in their reflecting on the day-to-day details of a rural existence, both the drudgery of tasks like feeding livestock and the quiet meditations on nature.”
Library Journal

“Goodan’s poems envision the world as a quiet haunting, reminding us of our place as the few alive in a world overflowing with the spent energy of the dead. He posits the natural world not as an idol to be worshipped, but as an essential vehicle for spiritual survival and transcendence. Death and loss have never been so full of hope as they are in In the Ghost House Acquainted.”
The Adirondack Review

“It is rare to see a poet work so hard in the physical world—serious farm labor—and still catch a fleeting glimpse of the spirit. Kevin Goodan does this convincingly because his language is so precise and his mind knows when to jump and when to stand still. This is a remarkable book.”
—James Tate

“Kevin Goodan’s austere poems have an eye and ear trained on the holiness of commonplace details like ‘the darkness that comes after fire.’ We can take comfort in the fact that his address to the natural world is so unflinchingly direct, for these poems are bathed in alchemical light.”
—Peter Gizzi

“Kevin Goodan’s poems can arrive like dumptrucks of grief, crushing gravel and fauna, torching the place, sending ash across the landscape; others unfold quietly, with reverence, working like scripture, having a kind of religious hush to them. All of them are absolutely devoid of cynicism and flippancy. It’s a unique (and often startling) experience to read them.”
—Michael Earl Craig



  1. roundup, not on friday, after quiet | the stanza - November 30, 2015

    […] now, as usual, a poem. Here is the last one I loved; it’s by Kevin Goodan, from his book In the Ghost-House Acquainted, which is worth its cover price just so you can study his amazing titles (but the poems are […]

Leave a Reply