Incandescent by Kai Coggin

Incandescent by Kai Coggin

Title: Incandescent
Author: Kai Coggin
ISBN: 978-1-943977-64-2
Library of Congress Number: 2019936592
Publication Date: 06/19/2019
Retail Price: $18.00
5.83 x 8.27” Paperback; 128 Pages
Distributed by Ingram and Sibling Rivalry Press
Author is available for appearances and interviews
Publisher Contact: [email protected]
Trade, library, and educational discounts available
Desk copies available for educators


Incandescent, the third full-length collection of poetry from Kai Coggin, was written mostly in 2016 and 2017 during the height of the 2016 presidential election, and reflects the chaos and darkness of our current times. Though it reflects that chaos, it strives to offer the reader a bit of hope, a spark of revolution, a call to rise up and stand as warriors against the unraveling of our collective principles of good. The lenses of the work offer both a macrocosm view of the world in its political and social upheaval, juxtaposed with a microcosm view of an inner love story that resonates from the poet's inner world, which provides sanctuary through this storm. The love of a woman. Of home. Of animals. Of peace. The narrative arc expands and contracts between these two perspectives. “Incandescent” means to “emit light as a result of being heated” -- the world is heated, and the poet is projecting her light through these poems, their righteous anger, and the love that will carry all of us through. These poems say, "We must use our light now more than ever, when the world needs it the most. We must burn. Bright."


“What radiating joy I feel reading Kai Coggin’s newest poetry collection. These are poems that bring me back to the heart of poetry. That heal my spirit. In the vein of Joy Harjo, Pat Mora, and Naomi Shihab Nye, these poems build heart homes in the sky, shining their light across the protective nature of the world around us — these poems burn bright. The personal is political, and the political is rendered powerfully transformed; change is possible—Kai sings us toward the possible. These poems enchant me, uplift me; I needed this book as a girl/young woman, and I will be sharing it with my daughter. These are poems fiercely needed in school libraries and anthologies. Through girlhood memory, first dresses and first periods, first two-stepping gay bars and fake IDs, first heart breaks, across oceans, deep in the recesses of our society’s darkest scars, these powerful poems do not shy away from trauma and pain, sexual, cultural, and political; rather, they uncover the wounds to apply salves in their cupped-together hands, with Kai incanting a balm over everything that hurts, saying, 'I could nourish / every thirsty thing with my tears, / my face / an open flower / my heart / the nectar I offer back to the earth.' And even beyond healing and transforming, these magical poems give permission: to love, to be, to sing. To rejoice. This collection is a love-song to women, and I am so grateful for Kai’s gloriously INCANDESCENT voice.”

- Jenn Givhan, author of Rosa’s Einstein and Girl with Death Mask


“Fire—its light and passion, is an apt metaphor for these rich, compelling, and deeply felt poems. It takes its form in many ways in these resonant, powerful, and completely riveting calls for justice, kindness, and attention to those parts of ourselves that illumine the dark we live in today. These are poems that activate every page, with guttural imagery and sure craft of the form. Whether limning the course of a deep love, providing a safe space to children learning poetry for the first time, shouting the proud acknowledgment of the body, or examining the ruins of terror’s aftermath, Kai Coggin proposes—no, urges—that we use that inherent fire within us, to grow not only our own lives, but to illumine and help the lives of others. These are poems of protest and praise, poems of a unique and adamant voice, who shows us what we can hope for, as well as what we can truly achieve in loving one another.”

- Philip F. Clark, author of The Carnival of Affection


“Kai Coggin’s third volume of poems, Incandescent, burns and blazes the world around us—the one where a father is a 'tall tree of leaving,' the world in which the poet asks, 'How many more mass graves must we dig / with the blunt end of an AR-15'? and the world where, 'boys will be boys will be dangerous men.' But there is hope in this world, too. Hummingbirds are 'flying red jewels,' there are lakes shaped like hearts, and bluebirds teaching their young that falling is only a preface for flying. And there is all of us—all—of—us—rising from the ashes of these pages.”

- Shaindel Beers, author of Secure Your Own Mask, Winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize


“Written with all the passion and energy that infuses her previous work, Kai Coggin’s Incandescent achieves new heights of awareness. The poet courageously shines her light on a world in pain, and then on the transformations that love earnestly enacts. These are intimate poems, offered with both grit and tenderness, from a poet whose voice resonates with unwavering conviction—poems that are lit from within and have the singular power to both ground and propel the reader to action.”

- Laura Page, Founding Editor-in-Chief of Virga and author of epithalamium


KAI COGGIN is a poet, author, and teaching artist living in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas. She holds a B.A. in English, Poetry, and Creative Writing from Texas A&M University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sinister Wisdom, Assaracus, Calamus Journal, Lavender Review, The Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Hoctok, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere.

Coggin is the author of three full-length collections, Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants, 2014), Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press, 2016), and Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019), as well as a spoken word album called Silhouette (2017). Her poetry has been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015 and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Kai teaches an adult creative writing class called Words & Wine at Emergent Arts, and is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council and Arkansas Learning Through the Arts, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth around the state. More info can be found at