TRIBUTARY (Barrow Street, 2015)

INTERVIEW (Sugar House Review):

“The poems of Kevin McLellan’s highly accomplished first collection are haunting and elliptical but never oblique or encoded. Lightning flashes of insight, memory, elegy and stern self-reckonings illuminate the horizons of these poems, which are unsettling and ecstatic by turns. These are the poems of “polysemy without mask” which Paul Celan strove to write, and Kevin McLellan is a poet of singular promise.” David Wojahn

“Writing within a matrix of loss, Tributary begins where language is most labile and finds manifest reasons for praise. Here is a blueprint of what I can only call the partiality of human experience, where time and perception offer moments, never totalities, of individual purpose for existing. If it is true “that a you doesn’t/ exist, and one hundred/ and two times over/ faith is lost” (“Hands: A Tribute”) it is equally true that these poems pay homage to the nature of that secondary state, where faith is as often found. Locating the tribute inside of Tributary, this book is an impressive debut and Kevin McLellan might well be a Heraclitus for the 21st century.” Claudia Keelan

“The poetry of feeling is back — and it’s fierce, now with an exploratory conceptual intelligence and a mysterious, elegant tact. The poems of Kevin McLellan’s Tributary lead forward with their lean tensile lines, their quiet associative confidence, their mysterious trajectories — and they carry us into amazing new territories, brave and strange and luminous, importantly habitable.” Stephen Tapscott