It is with great sadness that I write this statement on behalf of everyone involved in Black Bough and @TopTweetTuesday who knew Kari Flickinger as a poet.
It was devastating to hear of her passing.
Kari had a close involvement with Black Bough Poetry since its inception in 2019, and was published in most of our editions and books,. Kari was a guest reader/sub-editor for the Dark Confessions and Freedom Rapture works, and curated our Soundcloud playlists of the poets reading their poems.
Kari was, quite uniquely, a host of #TopTweetTuesday twice (joining less than a handful of poets who have hosted more than once) and gained a #bookofthemonth for The Gull and the Bell Tower (published by Femme Salvé) from Black Bough in January 2021
Put simply, part of the story of the growth of our micropoetry press is linked with Kari's own meteoric output, and with her continuous support of our press across social media platforms. She helped us gain momentum and embark in new directions. Kari was community-minded and understood the need to connect with others to grow in the craft and counteract creative stagnation and isolationism. Because of this interest in others, she became a pillar and beacon of the global poetic community, particularly on Twitter.
Kari was published prolifically in the US, UK, and across the world, accruing Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations, as well as a Rhysling Award. Many editors and staff in publishing houses will be deeply saddened by her untimely passing.
I was privileged to be asked to read at her recent Rare Swan Press book launch hosted by Damien Donnelly, along with Ankh Spice, Jude Marr, Marcelle Newbold, and Robert Frede Kenter. On that evening, Kari looked so happy to perform her new work and we were all deeply absorbed by her readings from 'Ceiling Fan'. Whenever I talked with her, Kari was quietly spoken, funny, modest, an active listener, one of those people who can't help but exude intelligence and wisdom. She was usually flanked by her exceptionally large cat, Bear, and a background of books, hundreds of them. Every so often, I was treated to some songs on the guitar that she sent through - another aspect that, for me, added to her character as the consummate, yet always unpretentious, indie poet.
Kari became an integral part of so many poets' lives in this ultra-connected, digital world. It is hard to believe that I never met her physically, as the hundreds, perhaps thousands of interactions I had with her gave me a full sense of her personality, her strong convictions and, most strikingly, her wildly imaginative poetic mind.
It's a regret that I didn't stick to plan A and call our Deep Time 1 anthology 'Your Heart Goes with Glaciers', after her seminal poem. This is one of the integral poems of the whole project, speaking as it does of environmental catastrophe, juxtaposed with the intimacy of lovers slipping away. And 'In a Sentimental Mood', from the ‘Yolk’ edition, stands out as one of the most romantic and charming pieces we have ever published.
When another outstanding poet, Dai Fry, passed away, Kari wanted to record a reading of one of his poems and load it up on Soundcloud. This, for me, summed up Kari. An honest and good heart, devoted to the craft, and to poets.
I will be going back to her two books and re-reading her published work.
Our love and sincere condolences go to Kari's partner Bill and her family.
Matthew M. C. Smith
Editor - Black Bough, TopTweetTuesday and Silver Branch series.
In a Sentimental Mood
I will not pluck a repetition of these notes
from your rising and falling
chest, slick from a sultry summer
fever. There’s the kick
drum and timpani. Languid brass sets in
your sheet creases. Brine. Clavicle-click. Bell.
O tap each knuckle on fine, extended
hand. My heart is your skin. Panting
and sizzling as we start back over.
Kari A. Flickinger
Bill Abney, Kari's partner.
the heavy branches
fall away from you
your body carving
this whole time
its own boat
the water waiting
her hands so clean
may you music
may you far
may you light
may you not look back