Katie's Voice


Love Songs from the End of the World

poetry by Katherine Riegel

Main Street Rag Publishing



1.   You save money! It’s $8.50 plus shipping right now; the normal price is $14.00. Who doesn’t want to save over $5? You could get a delicious fudge brownie for that money. Or an ice cream sundae. Or a small margarita. The possibilities are endless!

2.   My publisher will love me, like you all do. I like to be loved. It feels good. It will make my publisher think it was worth taking a chance on my book, which I sent out to various presses for over two years and got rejected over 30 times. And those numbers are low compared to a lot of poets (and very low compared to my first book!). I was lucky. I’d also gotten a couple of semi-finalist nods for the book in those years, which helped keep me sending out. But in the end, an editor chooses a poetry book to publish hoping people will read it, which means selling it so it can get into the hands of readers.

3.   My publisher can afford to print and publish MORE books. When you support a small press, particularly through specials such as pre-orders, you’re supporting more than just one poet. You’re supporting the poetry community, the poets who come after. Literary publishing is definitely not a money-making business, so every single sale helps keep the press afloat. And the longer the press exists (Main Street Rag has been around for over 20 years, which is impressive), the more books it can publish.

4.   You like me and/or my poetry, and want to support me. Hey, my family has pre-ordered, and some of my friends. Supporting an individual poet is a good thing. When folks buy my book, I think the work I do just might be worth something after all. I’m a writer, which means I’m filled with self-doubt. I see the things happening in the world right now and wonder if my words mean anything, if they do anything. But I keep writing because words do something for me. Since I was a kid, words have opened up the world and my own understanding, given voice to some of the mysteries of existence, resonated in my chest and throat and made me feel less alone.

5.   Other people liked it! Maggie Smith, the amazing poet who wrote the viral poem “Good Bones” (and the gorgeous book of the same title), says, “This is precisely the book I needed at this moment. Both fantastical and grounded in nature, deeply hopeful and stark in its appraisal of a dying world, this collection is full of lines I will keep close.” Enid Shomer, an accomplished writer who recently edited the lush anthology All We Know of Pleasure: Poetic Erotica by Women, says, “Part love-letter, part lament for a morally and ecologically compromised world, Katie Riegel’s fine third collection begins by reassuring us that ‘we live as much in dreams as in the made rooms/with tile floors and airplanes.’” And Terry Ann Thaxton, author most recently of Mud Song, writes, “Katherine Riegel asks difficult questions of how we relate to our world and gives us a ‘way back to our // missing parts.’”

6.   I think you’ll like it. The title, Love Songs from the End of the World, is an accurate one. In some ways, we are living in the end of the world: climate change is bringing on human and animal catastrophes every season, and people in power are not only failing to address the causes but failing to respond humanely to the effects. Right now in my own country, the government has set up concentration camps in which children and adults are suffering terribly. War, poverty, starvation, and disease plague the world. It is natural to despair. But despite all this, there is love: romantic love, family love, love of pets, love of nature, love of humanity. As the world burns down, we reach out to hold hands with whomever we can. We are singing in the flames. That’s what I hope to do with this book of poems: to acknowledge the precariousness of the times we’re living in, but to point out how much there is still to love.

Please click HERE to pre-order,

HERE for a link to a recent interview about the writing process of a particular poem in the book,

and HERE for sample published poems of mine.

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