Kelly’s 2016 collection, Bestiary, was selected as the 2019 EWL summer reading. Incoming English and World Literatures majors received a copy of the book, and EWL faculty will host discussions, introduce writing prompts, and weave the collection’s themes into numerous courses offered this fall.
Across this remarkable first book are encounters with animals, legendary beasts, and mythological monsters–half human and half something else. Donika Kelly’s Bestiary is a catalogue of creatures–from the whale and ostrich to the pegasus and chimera to the centaur and griffin. Among them too are poems of love, self-discovery, and travel, from “Out West” to “Back East.” Lurking in the middle of this powerful and multifaceted collection is a wrenching sequence that wonders just who or what is the real monster inside this life of survival and reflection. Selected and with an introduction by the National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole.