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A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees


Kendra Tanacea


A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees explores life’s strains and joys and the human compulsion to create something lasting despite certain entropy. Teardowns, remodels, sex, longing, joy; sometimes tender, sometimes humorous, these poems explore interpersonal relationships of all kinds and embrace the competing impulses of working hard at changing life’s course and fatalistic acceptance. Kendra’s poems keep the light on in the darkest of places: “Come after midnight, your hand / on the door, and me, lit, humming.”

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Kendra Tanacea, an attorney in San Francisco, holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees was a semifinalist for the Washington Prize and a finalist for the Idaho Prize for Poetry. Kendra’s poems have appeared in 5AM, Rattle, Moon City Review, The Coachella Review, Stickman Review, and Juked, among others. Visit Kendra Tanacea online at


“The passions and quiet violences that bind us and drive us apart fuel these poems. Tanacea writes with uncluttered immediacy and incandescent candor about domesticity, drugs, family, memory, divorce, sex as spirituality, fertility, horses and more. How can you resist a poet who employs ‘white nightgowning’ as a verb! Restraint and empathy undergird this collection, magnify the poems’ emotional power. Tanacea allows tangible things their uncanny ability to make the ineffable eloquent. Stirring, elegant and rueful, the poems are affective x-rays, illuminating the darkly erotic, the architecture of intimacy.”–Amy Gerstler

“Kendra Tanacea’s A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees is a glorious paean to perserverance in the face of life’s passages. Sparse, irreverent, and ardent, these poems, with all of their poignant humor and fervid intelligence, are rooted in a belief that artful language heals and we survive because of a steady reaffirmation of the powers of song.”–Major Jackson

“What a terrific collection! What I particularly like about these poems: their plain-speaking, their verbal economy. Tanacea’s subjects are not unusual–sex, family, domestica–but there are verbal surprises all the way through, and even the longer poems have an epigrammatic quality. A book of poems that has depth of feeling but is also fun to read.”–Ed Ochester

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