Black Lawrence Press

Turning Inside Out

Turning Inside Out by Sandra Kolankiewicz

There’s very little that is off limits for Sandra Kolankiewicz. In person and in her poems, she’ll give you the whole story: the bad and good parts, no matter how aching, how intimate. In 2005, she returned to poetry after more than two decades focusing on other genres. She had good reason to abandon poetry. Shortly after learning that she was going to be published for the first time, the editors who had chosen her poem asked for a meeting during which, line by line, she was asked to justify her work. Unsatisfied with her answers, the editors pulled her poem from the publication schedule. Sandra packed away all of her poems and turned to fiction. Twenty-five years later, a constellation of events caused her to rethink her relationship with poems. A dear friend was diagnosed with cancer, quickly deteriorated, and died. It became clear that her son, who is autistic, was not going to make the much-prayed-for miraculous recovery and that she would have to leave her job at the college where she had worked for over a decade in order to care for him. There were two wars on the television. Her parents were aging. Sandra didn’t have time for fiction. But she knew that she had to write, so she returned to poetry. “Anwar Sadat’s Wife’s Lover”, one of the poems in Turning Inside Out, was written the weekend that she saw her friend for the first time after his diagnosis. “Gleaning” was written after he died. Turning Inside Out is a collection of new poems, written in 2005 and later, and old ones that had been in storage since the early 80’s. Shortly after putting the book together, it won the Black River Chapbook Competition.

Turning Inside Out is a book that follows the acrobatics of one’s emotional movements when it seems impossible to decide which is worse: the self or the world. It can also read as an index for how and when poems are essential, how and when they can save a life.

Praise

  • “These are poems made from the grit and grind, from the pain and joy of the ordinary struggle, but it is ordinariness taken to a larger level—one that makes Kolankiewicz's poems vital and important. These are poems that demand to be read."
    —Robert Kinsley

    "Kolankiewicz's work shows a mind that fearlessly and empathetically observes herself and the world around her. To read one of these poems is to see the corners of one's own life frankly and compassionately illuminated on the page. In particular 'Keeping Pigeons' is an evocative blend of fact, passion and verse of which I have not experienced the likes of since Loren Eisley's THE STAR THROWER."
    —Dr. Scott Hartsel

Sandra Kolankiewicz

Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems and stories have recently appeared in, or been accepted by, Gargoyle, Per Contra, Solo Novo, Bellingham Review, Rhino, New Plains, Monkeybicycle, Cortland Review, 2River, Anomalous, Inertia, SNReview, Bluestem, Prick of the Spindle.  Her short fiction has been featured in the anthologies Sudden Fiction and Four Minute Fictions. Turning Inside Out won the Fall Black River Chapbook Competition at Black Lawrence. Blue Eyes Don't Cry received the Hackney Award for the Novel. She teaches Developmental English in at West Virginia University Parkersburg.

Kolankiewicz Author page

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