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The Book
ChrChrisistChrisiannon Kline
poet


Christi Shannon Kline is an American poet of evocation, her poetry engagingly spare and heart-centered. The poems often call the reader to a Southern culture lost and longed for, and speak to something deep inside that pines for an innocence and safety gone forever as in her excellent duo “Texas” and “Arkansas,” and especially in “DNA Dad.” The title poem of her new book, No Child More Perfect, is clever and lonely and lovely.
--David B. Austell,
author of Little Creek and other poems


A fresh and vivacious American voice...This is an actress' lament, tears, blood and angst behind the mask. Tragic, fierce and fiery, the confessions of a little girl in No Child will haunt the readers for a long time, making them aware of a special sense of loss and possible resurrection in their own lives...
--Yuyutsu Sharma, author of Annapurna Poems and
Space Cake, Amsterdam & Other Poems


No Child More Perfect reads with a visual acuity that placed me in a beautiful, sometimes twisted world of complex and mysterious relationships and dynamics...
It is filled with the detail and trappings of a sometimes reluctant southern grace...  It is a powerful piece of work.
--Diana Jones- Performing Songwriter
In her debut volume, Christi Shannon Kline is mostly focused on reconnecting with and valuing her origin and past. She does this with a light touch, felicitous phrasing and interesting images... her lyricism is direct, delicate, and tender.
--Michael Graves, author of Adam and Cain


Watch out!  Christi Shannon Kline's poems are original.  She speaks her mind:  ordinary and desperate, frank and unfaked and full of feeling. 
The poems sing and we welcome their freshness.
--Marie Ponsot,
winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award


...These are poems of real courage, and so they are also poems of hope. It is a wonderful thing that Christi Shannon Kline has brought them into the world.
--Richard Jeffrey Newman,
author of The Silence of Men


Christi Shannon Kline's poems are inviting, intriguing, and despite the pain and suffering, a joy to read...a triumph of the imagination and the human spirit.
--Salwa Khoddam, PhD,
Professor Emerita, Oklahoma City University
FOR LIFE

I saw a girl on TV,
who killed her father
I wondered;
Why didn’t you?

She’s been to prison
Says while in
prison
She found
freedom;
I wonder, have you?

Your abuser died
Of natural causes
Years after making you
His prisoner
for life

Was Oprah cold to her?
She seemed to be judging;
I could only think:
Why didn’t you?

Because daddy means goodness
The little girl says
Strong and safe
is daddy

But
he was only
your Stepfather. 
His cold blood
Did not mingle
with yours.

Let me pull the trigger
for you
It is time for you
To get out
of jail.

-Christi Shannon Kline
MY SON IS A PEAR TREE
(In memory of S.W.)

Root-wrapped bones
feed tiny sapling,
as nature coaxes
beauty from death.

Baby bud of a boy
I remember,
in the soft-haired
spring leaves, sun-blonde blooms;
small white heads crowning
cradling green hips.

My son is a Pear Tree,
growing, stretching,
swaying, unsteady; 
restless arms rustling-
tickle, tickle the sky!

My son is a Pear Tree,
standing tall in the sun,
surrounded by smiling tulips,
birds nesting in his arms.
My son who liked animals,
who thought he had
no other choice;
he would like this,
quiet boy, quiet tree.

My son is a Pear Tree,
Its blossoms falling
too fast, too fast. 
As tulip mourners
bow their colored heads,
we wait.

We wait for him
to be born
again.

-Christi Shannon Kline
GOING BACK

The house of my Grandparents has been eaten.  Giant trees, vines circle, choke the haven of my childhood, where Grandad sat by the wood stove coughing and winking, teasing me with Grandad games. Uncle Luther would visit, bringing with him always,
a Prince Albert tin full of pennies, just for me.
Grandma would sing-song her affections, string together first name, middle name, called in her
poetic backwoods way.  She had a song for the
cats too, when it was time for their supper, another
for the chickens; sounds like the earth makes when it’s not even trying.  Grandma was as deep in the earth,
as I was deep in dreams, of someday escaping my
too close proximity to bugs, folksy talk and fried ham.

-Christi Shannon Kline
THANKSGIVING

Lemon ice box pie,
let me look back on
family, with a
softer eye. Let me
be a little hard of
hearing, a little
slow to answer.

Soft, sweet pucker of
the first bite; the graham
cracker crust, always
better before baked,
like blueberry muffin
batter on my birthday.

Let these Southern family
ways in again; sweet potatoes,
the real thing- white, not orange.

Go on! Show ‘em where ya come from;
Eagle-brand-sweetened-condensed-milk-
nilla-wafer-velveeta-cheese-land.

-Christi Shannon Kline