Winner of the inaugural Interim 2018 Test Site Poetry Series Prize
Refugia is a bright and hopeful voice in the current conversation about climate change. Kyce Bello’s stunning debut ponders what it means to inhabit a particular place at a time of enormous disruption, witnessing a beloved landscape as it gives way to, as Bello writes, “something other and unknown, growing beyond us.” Ultimately an exploration of resilience, Refugia brings to life the author’s home ground in Northern New Mexico and carefully observes the seasons in parallel with personal cycles of renewal and loss. These vivid poems touch upon history, inheritance, drought, and most of all, trees—be they Western conifers succumbing to warming temperatures, ramshackle orchards along the Rio Grande, or family trees reaching simultaneously into the past and future.
Like any wilderness, Refugia creates a terrain that is grounded in image and yet many-layered and complex. These poems write us back into an ecological language of place crucial to our survival in this time of environmental crisis.
Dear Future Child
The Ashram at Leigh Mill Road
Guide to Flowering Plants
The Trouble with Belief
The Tree Coroners
Message in a Bottle from the Sea of Cortez
Phrases in the Original Unspoken
Brief Guide to Epigenetic Memory with Burning Bosque
In the Air Before Easer
Portrait of the Homemaker at Eighteen
I Wear Long Skirts for My Own Unwary Pleasure,
Notes to Future Botanists in Search of Conifers
The Speaker Reconciles with Spring
For the Record
Gazing on the Mid-Morning in an Expression of Solidarity
Crossing Elwood Pass
The Washerwoman Maps Her Body Before Death
The Carp Pond
Summer Ends With Ringing
Landscape with River Restored to its Historic Channel After 100 Years
When We Gathered to Stock up On Light
Cusp with Various Visitations
Our Names Unfurl Across Winter
Further Phrases in the Original Unspoken
Archipelago of Ancestral Bodies and Unnamed Landmarks of the Present
Origin of the Apple
Right of First Refugium
"In Bello’s tender debut, mothers and children tend to a resilient Earth, even as anxiety about climate change overwhelms the landscape."
"Quietly political... Loving, unsparing visions of Bello’s native and family environments make Refugia both a lament and a song of praise. The poems are arranged in a direct way and are rife with detail, their lines both visceral and accessible."
"Refugia captures the losses, the quiet rage, and the constant, near-overwhelming wonder of life on this very particular planet in this very particular moment, somehow also managing to make amends with the arriving of our almost certainly unfamiliar future."
—World Literature Today