Ami Kaye’s What Hands Can Hold

Ami Kaye

Ami Kaye’s poems have appeared in various journals. She has also written features, reviews and articles. She is the author of What Hands Can Hold (Xlibris, 2010), and her new poetry collection, Singer of the Ragas, will be released later this year. Ami Kaye is the publisher and managing editor for Pirene’s Fountain, a journal of poetry. Visit her website

What Hands Can Hold is a luminous collection with compelling emotion and insights. Some of the poems exude softness and beauty, and some like ‘Elegy of Complaint’, grit and blood, “We walk the shores / to bathe feet / that have trampled / fossils and bones”. The poet shares her inner self without angst or contrived embellishments. She does it with such lyrical grace and lack of pretension, you forget how intelligent and well constructed each poem is. She draws the reader into her poetic world to be absorbed by the nearly physical touch of her language. These revelations are a magical gift, and once you begin to read, you think, “Ah, yes. I understand, I have felt that, and here in these words, I feel it once again!”
— Julie George
“Kaye’s writing is fertile ground for a deeply sensory experience in which the reader absorbs the “constant stories in (her) eloquent language”, the curves of the letters “yielding a voluptuous sound”. Kaye is not afraid to tackle any phase of life. The wistfulness of a grandmother whose swelling heart knows both pride and anguish as she poses with her brand new grandchild for a photo, aware it is the only tangible evidence this child will have left of her (‘Through the Lens’), is contrasted with the ravages of illnesses and broken hearts (and bodies) so many of us will deal with at some point in our mortal travels. In fact, Kaye’s work is a deft and subtle portrait of humanity in all its various incarnations, back dropped through different cultural ventures. She treats us to a gorgeous, sumptuous piece that ties in the entire book and anchors its endpoint, in ‘Henna Stories’.
… She writes, “as you grow accustomed to the dark, much that was hidden becomes visible … What can we see/ from such a tiny aperture?/ The image is sharpest/ when the pinhole is small”. Kaye sharpens the readers’ focus, leading them to a point of entry into a world saturated with both reality and revelry.”
— Karen Bowles

'Tea House' by Tracy McQueen

Tea House
That last
left interrupted
when the call
the rush
to leave,
the scrape of wood
the silence
she stirred
black leaves,
tiny and fragrant,
swirling around
white bone china.
by the
first taste
of honey
and pain.
She stared into liquid interiors
—a cloudy divination—
hoping not to leave
bitter dregs.
drenched the air.
She recaptured
the memory,
the heat,
of how he had
turned over
her palm,
she felt the
blossom of that kiss,
her fragile
neurons speaking
a language
as lemongrass,
pale as the faded imprint
of her ring.
Violin Concerto
How smoothly
the strains of Paganini
flow into the heart.
As the bow pulls a rippling
swell from the strings
in each passing,
power runs up the arms,
shifting the weight of lyric,
a flourish of ornamentation.
Who knew the curves of
polished maple could
yield such voluptuous sound?

Don’t bother
holding your breath
as you tiptoe past
the weeping willow.
Her sleeping hands can’t
capture you anyway,
one hand is tucked under
the kimono you softly blew
open last night, the other
is tangled in her long, black hair.
Go quickly, then.
Faithless one,
like the wind,
you kiss many mouths
and keep moving on.
from What Hands Can Hold (Xlibris, 2010)
Order What Hands Can Hold here and here.
Read Scott Owen’s review of What Hands Can Hold.
Read Jeffrey Side’s review of What Hands Can Hold.
Visit Ami’s website.
Visit Pirene’s Fountain.

4 thoughts on “Ami Kaye’s What Hands Can Hold

  1. Pat Galvin

    Just came across your poems through Michelle Mcgranes Peony Moon.
    I love the way you are able to turn the sense of touch into words on
    paper. I think I have only one poem that does that. And it did not even
    get into my first collection ‘Where the music comes from’ Doghouse,
    Tralee, Ireland.
    Good to make contact with such a fine poet. If you can spare the time,
    send a reply.


  2. Ami Kaye

    Dear Pat,

    Michelle does such a beautiful job with Peony Moon. Thank you for writing and expressing your appreciation–as a writer, you know how wonderful it is when something you’ve written resonates with a reader–I am deeply honored.

    Since you are a poet too, please feel free to check Pirene’s Fountain out. We enjoy poetry of many different styles and love all our poets. “Where the music comes from” sounds like a lovely collection. I hope it is available on Amazon. I would love to check it out!

    Thanks so much for making contact, Pat. Good luck in all your writing endeavors.

    Warm wishes, Gra!

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