Quirky. Eclectic. Pixel-based.

How We Disappear by Kelli Allen


Limited Edition Chapbook
Winner of the 2016 Afternoonified Chapbook Contest

Scheduled for release in August 2016

25 pages, 6″ x 9″, Perfect-bound
$10.00 (+ $3.00 Shipping)


Praise for How We Disappear:

It’s such a pleasure to luxuriate in the poems of Kelli Allen: full of rich beauty, wisdom and wonder—these are lovemade poems, songs that reach beyond easy surfaces and facile conclusions. Even when she’s taking on difficult subject matter and uneasy silences, her poems are spellbindingly gorgeous and confidently sensual. This book does not disappoint, even when detailing how we disappear.
—Allison Joseph, author of Mercurial and Mortal Rewards

How We Disappear bursts with images born of the mind and of the body and in the dark unfathomable place where they connect. These poems are sexy, cryptic, aching, grieving, celebratory, mythic, and redemptive. They are totems buried in the sand, the tops just sticking out, leaving readers to dig as deep as we want, as deep as Kelli Allen permits us in her deeply personal mythologies.
Richard Newman, author of All the Wasted Beauty of the World

Kelli Allen’s How We Disappear is a fearless exploration of love and loss, longing and betrayal. These poems thrum with immense power and daring. One poem pleads, “Let’s pretend that the stories bind / our bodies.” In this collection, they do. Allen teaches us, “We can love what’s predatory / if we keep our bodies from being completely / swallowed,” and that “it’s hard to hold weapons while asking / for forgiveness.” Here is a poetry unafraid of the messiness, the beauty, the danger of the corporeal reality of our human existence.
Shaindel Beers, author of A Brief History of Time and The Children’s War and Other Poems

“In the body, there is a better reason,” writes Kelli Allen, but I can think of no better reason than the body itself, in all its sensual insights, to read How We Disappear. Allen writes the world lushly the same way a food critic might speak of a favorite dish. It’s hard not to delight when each poem, despite the dynamics found within, is verbally succulent. With a lyric tightness she plants us in pages filled with natural wonder and a sort of wild danger where we bite another’s tail knowing “it grows back every time.” This chapbook, practically its own ecosystem, is a place worth visiting, where we can touch the author’s wrist, her world, and check “not for pulse but for birds, lilies.”
Michael Schmeltzer, author of Blood Song

There is a real hunger in these poems, a refusal to accept the distances that seem so inherent to our lives. It is an intimate hunger, a social hunger, born of the violence we bring upon ourselves. “We are marked things”, Allen writes, “you and I, mechanized / against wounding.” Yet, despite these defense mechanisms, the wounds are everywhere in these moving, elegant poems. Wounds of family, culture, God, sex, and self-perception. Wounds that persist long after healing. Between the promise and the reality of the world, Allen mines for brief glimmers of hope and balance, maybe even some great truth that transcends our own inevitable disappearance.
—John Sibley Williams, author of Controlled Hallucinations and Disinheritance


Table of Contents

  • It’s Only A Weapon When You Hold Your Breath
  • There is Enough Morning to Cleave the Skull From the Coral
  • It’s Only Running If You Refuse To Get Lost
  • If the door notices you watching, it’s only polite to look away
  • Saying the Hard Things, Propping the Gate Wide
  • We name the totems with every morning
  • Some Call This Self Defense
  • Still talking about endings
  • There Are Ships Closer If You Let Them
  • You Say Disappear And I Say Not Yet
  • The Prettiness Is Up-Close
  • Imagine Not Drowning
  • Every Day We Devour the One Before
  • This is how I answer goodnight
  • Philosophy Tramples Everything, No Apologies
  • This is the part where we don’t say “love”
  • The sand lights the match, the song lights itself
  • Ink: Imagine waving the sky inward

 About the Author:

Kelli Allen’s work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies in the US and internationally. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won awards for her poetry, prose, and scholarly work. She served as Managing Editor of Natural Bridge, is the current Poetry Editor for The Lindenwood Review, and holds an MFA from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She is the director of the River Styx Hungry Young Poets Series and founded the Graduate Writers Reading Series for UMSL. She is currently a Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing at Lindenwood University and teaches for The Pierre Laclede Honors College at UMSL. Her chapbook, Some Animals, won the 2016 Etchings Press Prize. Her full-length poetry collection, Otherwise, Soft White Ash, arrived from John Gosslee Books in 2012 and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.