WINNER OF THE 2016 BLUE LIGHT PRESS AWARD
KB Ballentine’s poetry embodies what James Wright called “the delicacy and strength of lace.” Love and blues are her subjects, and she is faithful to them in lines that are firm yet fanciful, offering trellises with blooms in every season. Perhaps this is the “season of want,” but in KB’s hands the season is plentiful; the poems regale and nurture us, croon and soothe. The Perfume of Leaving is a gift that each song gives back after sorrow. From the elegant lyricism of “Blueshift” to the grudges “clutched like salt,” our poet has the confidence and sureness of craft and spirit “to get it right / this time.”
— Marilyn Kallet, author of 16 books, including The Love That Moves Me, Black Widow Press
KB Ballentine’s The Perfume of Leaving questions whether moments serve as arrival or threshold, blessing or sorrow. After all, we live in a context where “Eternity stains the air.” So, too, memory–its possibilities, its promises, as well as its erasures,
its regrets. Her poems offer a way to “refus[e] the news and its dirges,”–both national and personal, both present and past– despite recognizing that “the path to the future lies broken.” Ballentine’s poems stand clear, steadfast, aware that even though “the way ahead [is] unclear,” we must “trust our hearts to that first step.”
— Jeff Hardin, author of Small Revolutions and Restoring the Narrative
In Celtic spirituality thin places are where the physical and spiritual, the visible and invisible, merge. Ballentine’s work is full of such places, where past and present meet as “ghosts swarm,” and where the “moment of blessing, moment of sorrow” are one and the same. Ballentine studies “the names they left” for clues to how past loss produces present strength. In response to “What could I offer now?” she offers the answer of deeply observed details: “... surf spooling around our ankles / Fireflies, hope flaring in twilight.” This book is itself “a pause between ridges that capture(s) the light” and the note of this book’s perfume is all heart.
— Kimberly L. Becker, author of Words Facing East and The Dividings
In The Perfume of Leaving, KB Ballentine weaves alchemical word magic, with an astounding tenderness in vision and voice. Her poems are elegant jewels, with a powerful sense of place in the Appalachian mountains. Her writing weaves sensual beauty, transparent emotions, and language that sings — poems running wild in the landscape of the heart. Her poems will call you to see the world in a different way.
— Diane Frank, author of Blackberries in the Dream House