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Segue 12: Fall 2014  ||  Kate Garklavs


about the author


Kate Garklavs is a writer and editorial analyst living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared or will appear in Tammy, Two Serious Ladies, The Tusculum Review, and Thrush. When she’s not writing, she’s most likely broadening her taxidermy collection.


about the work


For the longest time I was intimidated by poetry. I studied fiction as an undergrad and grad student, and during my course of study I convinced myself that poetry was off-limits–accessible only to individuals deeper or more worldly than I. Slowly, intentionally, I debunked this awkward formally-focused myth and began writing a series of epistolary poems inspired by Richard Hugo’s 31 Letters and 13 Dreams—to date, my favorite poetry collection. My own work has always hovered in that space between comprehensible narrative and big-old collection of images, and I found (and find) Hugo’s work accessible in a way that many poems aren’t. I fast latched on to Hugo’s focus on place—the comparative fixity of its physical elements and the transience of the people who contribute equally to its emotional resonance—and invariably my writings find their beginnings on the side streets of underpopulated Midwest towns, on highways, or in neon-bleached dives where a beer and shot will set you back five bucks.

“Letter to a Wife from an Almost-Wife” is addressed to an acquaintance that I someday hope to count among my good friends. I first met Lauren at her wedding—my fiancé grew up with her   husband—and met her again at another wedding we attended last year. None of my close friends is married, and I’m fascinated by the bonds that spring up among partners and plus-ones at the nuptials they’re invited to and (sometimes hesitantly) attend. On the brink of wifedom myself, I wrote this poem from a place of transition: of deep nostalgia for the almost-past and anticipation of a new role, a modified self.

I’m also rabidly aware of my cultural surroundings and love to incorporate time- and place-specific markers into whatever I’m working on. I’ve been warned against this practice (and reasonably, I think), but I can’t dismiss the knowledge that our cultural identifiers—fad diets, textile patterns, slang and  emoticons—are central to our shifting identities. As much as I like to rail against the Paleo diet in conversation, I realize that my stance speaks to larger truths about myself. Therefore, the references stay.


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