"Turning back toward the past, to reckon with and reclaim it, this book seeks to untangle memory. On its surface, Untying the Knot is about severance—about leaving the beloved behind and, likewise, getting left—but it is also a meditation on the sources of love and language. “It’s a comfort / to imagine our rounded bones / becoming round bits of the globe / our spirits rising to orbit among spiral galaxies / joining those who completed the circle before us,” writes Holmes, whose voice pushes readers forward into the unknown with confidence, precision, and empathy."
—Dorianne Laux, author of The Book of Men and Facts About the Moon
These poems are poems about the pains of a broken marriage. About half the people who have ever been married would be eligible to write on the subject, but very few, if any others, could do it with such grace, humor, self-awareness, and without a dollop of self-pity, as Karen Paul Holmes has in Untying the Knot. This is a courageous deeply human book.
—Thomas Lux, author of To the Left of Time and God Particles
In Karen Paul Holmes’s Untying the Knot, betrayal and sorrow are recontextualized into an acknowledgment of the transitory nature of relationships and the capacity to find joy through language. Indeed, in this work, one that dignifies a sadness so many feel, “a spark ignites the dry leaves” in lucid and radiant ways, creating poetry that not only enriches us, but possesses the potential to teach us ways to navigate and ultimately transcend the difficulties of divorce and the feelings of loss and grief such division engenders.
—William Wright, series editor of The Southern Poetry Anthology, author of Night Field Anecdote and Bledsoe