Longlist, National Book Awards 2016 for Poetry

Bestiary, by Donika Kelly book cover
ISBN 9781555977580
Graywolf Press
Donika Kelly autho photo, credit John Jackson
Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly’s poems have appeared in various journals including West Branch, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Tupelo Quarterly. Bestiary is Kelly’s first collection of poetry and was selected by Nikky Finney for the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. More about this author >

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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. Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole.