Monk Books, 2016
From the publisher: Christine Kanownik's debut book, KING OF PAIN, wrestles with heavy themes while maintaining a wry grace that carries us effortlessly into a kind of fatalistic enlightenment. Brave, lyrical, and wonderfully direct, KING OF PAIN is one of those books that leaves you feeling more real after reading it. Filled with crass human truths and deep emotional beauty, KING OF PAIN is a book of highly original work by one of the most exciting new poets of our generation. In her poem "The Flower is a Jerk" she meditates with Wordsworthian bravado on flowers; then writes "but this isn't about flowers / it is about our perverse relationship / with the one flower." In the long, luscious poem, "I Don't Know," the speaker tells us, wisely, "it is because of love we get this way / In this new era of unbelievable pain." Christine Kanownik's poems see the world- weary humanity in all things. She sees beauty in pain. And pain in beauty. And of those, she is king.