Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Katelyn Roth’

Self-defense — by Katelyn Roth

Sharpen your knuckles

with keys and ready the heel of your hand

to crack noses. Knuckles sharp

with keys and the heel of the hand readies

to crack noses. Keys sharpen knuckles;

handheel cracks noses. Knuckles to

noses. Knuckles to noses. Knuckles

to noses. Knuckles to noses. I don’t even like

boxing. I check the backseat

before locking myself in. I hesitate

rolling the trash bin to the curb.

From ages 12-17 I practiced

shimmying tied hands from under my knees

without parting them. Every day

a female friend or relative forwarded the newest

threat—baby crying roadside, flat tires in the mall

parking lot, unattended bar drinks. I hate

the coiled crouch of my body in the dark,

hate my muscles knowing what to do, hate

my expectant resignation, hate

the assault that feels inevitable.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth graduated with her Master’s in poetry from Pittsburg State University. She teaches composition and general literature at Pittsburg State University and Fort Scott Community College. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity.

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is winner of the Red Mountain Press Editor’s Choice Award for Shadow Light. Other books are a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart: One Family’s Story of Lenape Survival (U. of Nebraska Press) and A Casino Bestiary: Poems (Spartan Press). Jackalope, fiction, was acclaimed by Pennyless (U.K.), American Book Review, and New Letters. She has won 3 Ks. Notable Book Awards and recognition from PSA, Roberts Foundation, Lichtor Award, NEH, and more. Low has an MFA (Wichita State U.) and Ph.D. (Ks.U.). She teaches for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies. www.deniselow.net

Evolution of Man                               —by Katelyn Roth


Hanuman Langur, protected1029161103
in India for holy rites, dark-
skinned descendant
of the monkey god,
has a charred sugar skull face,
bullwhip tail of gray ash.

One male takes ten mothers
for his own, slaughters the children
of their former mates.
With firstborns dead, only
his offspring survive.


Why I stayed:

because I was isolated. I
believed he would kill me. I
blamed myself. He
controlled my life. He
was my life. I
didn’t exist anymore.


Why I left:

Garbage consumes kilometers
of Pacific Ocean, island of debris
visible to God,
satellites, astronauts.

Carp, char, grunion, hagfish,
the lamprey and naked puffer, are
trashchoked and blinded
by confettied waste, the sludge,
swirling above them, galactic.


Katelyn Roth
graduated with her Master’s in poetry from Pittsburg State University. She teaches composition and general literature at Pittsburg State University and Fort Scott Community College. Her work has previously appeared online at Silver Birch Press and here at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance, and Solidarity.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is a University Professor, the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10thAnniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Apologia for Being Standoffish Sometimes — Katelyn Roth

The Youth Group held a seminar on

Hugging While Female. The leaders were men

and women; attendants, only girls. The boys

played basketball in the other half of the gym;

We learned to prevent chest-to-chest contact

with a well-placed hand at chest level.


I used to hug my young uncles

at annual family barbeques. Their arms

would loop loosely around my kidbody,

one hand maybe patting my back.


When I scuttle in sideways like a crab,

they are confused. Their loose arms reach further

to hold me long-ways. I rest my obedient hand

on their chest as I’ve been told, only it feels

so close, so lingering, so intimate, so

I back away instead, turn to hug my aunts.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth holds degrees in English and Psychology and will be defending her Master’s thesis in Poetry this spring. She lives in Pittsburg, KS with her husband and two dogs. Her work has previously appeared on line and in Silver Birch Press and at Heartland: Poems of Love, Resistance and Solidarity.

Guest Editor Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning author and actress whose dynamic style of reciting has led fans to dub her “Maya of the Midwest!” Her first book of poetry, A Net Full of Hope (2015), garnered the 2015 ARTSConnect ARTY Award in Literature in Topeka, Kansas. Descants for a Daughter followed in 2016 and serves as a collection of affirmations from a parent’s heart. Billings most recent publication is Just Shy of Stars (Spartan Press, 2018). Her poetry and short stories also appears in the following anthologies: Gimme Your Lunch Money: Heartland Poets Respond to Bullying (2016), Twisting Topeka (2016), Our Last Walk: Using Poetry for Grieving and Remembering Our Pets (2016), and Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Balkans Press, 2017) and Revealed (2017). Billings’ poetry can also be found in both online and print publications including Inscape/Washburn University, Coal City Press, Microburst and Konza Magazine.

Not My America — Katelyn Roth


I have been

the sigh that plants hands firmly

on either side of the mouth and bursts out

like shattering ice, shards in the chest,

upon reaching home.
one who bargains with the remote’s blinking

battery light, promises things—a Clorox sponge bath,

name brand batteries—to keep from moving

to change the channel.
the arthritic finger on a gnarled hand, frozen

to trail after each passerby like a magnet

drags North or like heads turn when men hold hands.

When the water rises, fire ants hitch together,

eggs gathered between them—they will float

for weeks, bobbing like Atlantis

before it angered the gods.
Maybe the same gravel road that led away

will lead us home. Maybe the sea

won’t swallow us this time.

~ Katelyn Roth

Katelyn Roth graduated from Pittsburg State University with degrees in Creative Writing and Psychology. She has been previously published in the campus literary magazine Cow Creek Review. Currently, she resides in Pittsburg with her husband and dog, working at an insurance office while on hiatus from her Masters in Creative Writing.

Tag Cloud