MAMMAL ROOM is a radio signal in the night, searching for purchase, unsure of whether or who is listening. In the poems of her debut collection, Kristen Evans navigates the gulf between what is thought and what is felt, what is felt and what can be captured in language. With urgency and great care, her poems  announce “I am here to break things.” As her poems stray through empty streets and open fields, Evans makes and unmakes her world and its inhabitants with restless abandon: “It’s not like arriving in a pastoral,” she writes in IT’S TRUE WHAT THEY SAY, BEAUTY WRECKS EVERYTHING, “but it’s close. I can tell something isn’t right here. / This face is your face. No, it’s mine.”




the myth of certainty

I was too busy to feel love, but I kept breathing.
I sent everyone songs disguised as neutrinos.
They did not make additional contact.
I walked into a barn and loaded a cloth sack
with earth. So things are uncertain!
I said to the earth. In the cemetery,
I sought someone I could explain this to.
People of the cemetery, I destroyed
the myth of certainty. I whispered
in the dead shell of their ears. A thimble,
a door. They did not make additional contact.
Alone again, I watched the world streak past
the car window. It made a violent green flash.
I couldn’t strike into the hills or the corn fields.
I was on the other side of something.
I allowed myself the occupation of it.
I looked for another way in.