Mend by Kristin LaTour and illustrated by Angel E. Perez

“Aristotle said that the greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. In Mend, Kristin LaTour proves the point. While the heart in these poems is many things, it is practical above all else, functional as well as versatile, from a cherished vase skilled in dispersing the light of a life into its constituent colors, to a Persian rug into which hopes are woven—something both useful and beautiful that stands the test of time, gathering and protecting a lifetime of stories. Each of LaTour’s poems is a gift that shows us a new way of seeing the heart, that symbol of our emotional lives, of what makes us human.”
-Nancy Chen Long, winner of the 2016 Tampa Review Prize for Poetry

“What is the heart? It’s a container: a repository for our most complex feelings of love and loss, of nostalgia and growth. The illustrated poems in this collection explore and explode that metaphor. Life ‘may not / be pretty all the time,’ Kristin LaTour writes, but it is durable, resilient, full of nourishment. ‘Glass can be made strong, / but it is still breakable,’ one poem offers, and we know the opposite is also true: a breakable thing can still be strong. What does the heart do? It keeps us alive, and so do these poems.”
-Amorak Huey author of Seducing the Asparagus Queen

“The heart was first considered the center of emotions by the Egyptians, who noticed that it was a vehicle for blood that would circulate through the entirety of the body and that when a person felt strong feelings, it would increase the strength of its pumping. In 2015, scientists discovered the heart contained neurons, that it is, in fact, part of the nervous system. Such a sensitive vessel then, would be bound to be a bodily collector of memory. This is what Kristin LaTour explores in her latest collection Mend. LaTour representatively catalogues all the artifacts a heart can contain and become through its sojourn from first beat to last. The heart can ‘disperse light…split it into…the colors of joy,’ and also be a home for ‘silver tip tetras…who eat their own young.’ Although it can gather rust, thistles, algae, and fall victim to “the slow work of sand and water,” LaTour endeavors to ‘mend her, make promises.’ The artwork of Angel Perez provides a lovely unexpected touch. His ink strokes are filled with emotion—at times desolate, at times exuding a playfulness. The drawings add corporeality to the extended metaphor. This collection is delicately introspective through the use of lushly tangible imagery. Each poem is a delight to linger in.”
-Jill Khoury, author of Suites for the Modern Dancer

“Luminous words for dark times…Kristin LaTours’s poems in Mend are USEFUL, which is the highest compliment I can give. Angel’s art is wondrous and has an elegant simplicity to it.”
-Jon Dee Graham, Austin Music Hall of Fame Singer/Songwriter