Underground River of Want
by Kathleen Gregg
21 Poems ~ 27 Pages
Format: 5 ½’’ x 8 ½’’
Publisher: Leah Huete de Maines
Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-1-64662-599-4
To Order: www.finishinglinepress.com
Or on Amazon.com


Underground River of Want, by Kathleen Gregg, embarks on a journey beginning with the death of her father in 1964. Yet in her youth when the “paramedics strap my dad / onto the stretcher,” she experiences the “cold tug of alarm,” at the prospect of losing her beloved. From there, Gregg ushers the reader from heartbreak to light, from disappointment and loss to triumph. Buckle up. This is a ride worth taking as with each turn of the page fortunate readers navigate Kathleen Gregg’s Underground River of Want.


Underground River of Want is a celebration of the speaker’s journey from heartbreak and need to authenticity and strength. The unflinching yet sympathetic look t the past has us aching with the untimely loss of a beloved father, cheering for the speaker’s choices leading to freedom and self-sufficiency. The thread of time is marked with music, illustrated by iconic songs. This is a book detailing important changes in a person’s life, an account masterfully narrated in poetry “The story isn’t over.” I agree that “the best is yet to come.” Congratulations, Kathleen! Can’t wait to read what you write next.
—Katerina Stoykova, author of Second Skin (2019 translation from the original Bulgarian)

In her debut chapbook, Kathleen Gregg reveals a keen sense for selecting the exact word to capture the essence of a moment, a da or a lifetime. Kathleen deft draws the reader into the ever-changing world of the speaker—the girl whose father passed too young, the half-child who searched for love, the twenty-something left with only the sound of the train rattling windows, the new woman choosing to jump the fence and drive away, and the woman comfortable in her own skin who slips outdoors into the lush hush of dawn hanging in a full life with her truest love, found at last. The sights and sounds that reveal surprising gifts that distill complex human experiences in universal ways. I am reminded fondly of my beloved mentor, James Baker Hall’s highest praise for the craft—this poet has earned every line.
—Shelda Hale has earned an MFA from Spalding University


Kathleen Gregg lives with her husband and one cat in the beautiful Bluegrass region of Kentucky, where storytelling is as much a tradition as horse racing and bourbon distilling are. She was mentored by Jeff Worley, 2019-2020 Kentucky Poet Laureate, for a year, through the Author Academy program at Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington. She is a member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society, currently serving as treasurer. Her poems have been published in Lady Literary Journal, Gyroscope Review, Workhorse, Highland Park Poetry, Literary Accents Magazine, among others. This is her first chapbook.


Charlie’s Invitation
by Kathleen Gregg

Come glide with me
through the cool, still waters

of the river. Listen to the lullaby
of oars upon the surface,

smooth and rhythmic, stroking
us forward. The sun will gift us

with skin soaking warmth, glitter
the sweat beaded upon our bodies.

Our vibrations in tandem, rippling
outward, will sound an alarm

to the long-legged heron grazing
for minnows in pools by the river bank.

And she will take flight:
expanse of wing against the lapis sky,

a lavish sweep across the palisades.
Later, we will drift with oars suspended

to within yards of motionless turtles
sunbathing on a fallen tree limb.

they will startle and splash
at the sound of our laughter, as we

sip cold wine from a mason jar,
as we sway in gentle waters.


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