A reimagined coming-of-age and song of loss, Kingdom plays out the rituals of queer desire in slow motion, exploring our connections and our distances from each other. Taking us through fields and bedrooms, into the sea and the museum, passing through scenes of urban and rural life, Kingdom hints at an imagined world breathing inside the visible one. Together, its poems become a journey in which various speakers share their perspectives, revealing a vast world of interconnection linking lovers, locations, and lives and suggesting the roles we play can be reimagined and rewritten.
“Kingdom is a reverent, haunting, often heartbreaking collection about the fragility of beauty and ferocity of love. Jeffrey Perkins sees and feels the world with a feverish curiosity, and his poems crackle with spare precision. This book is a treasure.”
– Scott Heim, author of Mysterious Skin and We Disappear
“Jeffrey Perkins, like the perfect auteur, guides us through the kingdoms of his life. Kingdoms of boyhood, of desire, of coupling and parting, of high art, of lives in unending transit. Kingdoms of midnight swims and unspoken eroticism. Kingdoms that reverberate with “what it means to be alone.” The poems evoke and smolder like little foreign movies. Constantly on the move, his speakers navigate a series of perpetual beginnings and endings, arrivals and departures. Songs of the eternal traveler, these poems are sensual, alert, haunted, alive to every detail, tingling with unquenchable longing.”
– Amy Gerstler, author of Scattered at Sea and Dearest Creature
“The Kingdom alluded to by the title of Jeffrey Perkins’ vivid and tender first book of poems is, in many ways, a grand ideal we can loosely feel at times, but never see. Reading these poems, I kept being reminded of how critic David Kalstone described Elizabeth Bishop, that she was “homesick for a place she had never been.” Perkins’ sense of homesickness belongs to a modern nomad, who reconfigures his pattern of intimacy between men, the improvisational communities that form around him and the wilder aspects of the natural world. The poems here are written with quick and indelible language that can seem, at times, to disclose a narrative impulse but then resists that impulse by slowly pulling away from its strategy. In this treacherous American moment, when the social world and the natural world are in conflict with the collective psyche, these poems actually gave me hope and, on many occasions, surprising joy.”
– Michael Klein, author of When I Was a Twin and The Talking Day
Jeffrey Perkins grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and earned his BA from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and his MA in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Boston. He later studied poetry at Bennington College, where he received his MFA and was the recipient of the Jane Kenyon Memorial Scholarship. His poems have been published in The Adroit Journal, The Cortland Review, The Massachusetts Review, Memorious, Rhino, Tupelo Quarterly, among other journals. He was a 2019 Artist-in-Residence at The Watermill Center. He is the co-author, with Frances Moore Lappe, of You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear. He lives in Culver City, California. His work can be found at thekingdompoems.com