The Last 4 Things home

"Spare, stark, and relentlessly intelligent, Greenstreet's poems exhibit a propulsive intensity that belies their often less-than-ten-word building blocks of thought and action. Few poets are willing to risk being as aphoristic and even didactic about the conceptual as is Greenstreet; she's living proof that poets are not, in fact, afraid of voicing hard-won, bittersweet truths." - "10 Recent Books of Poetry You Should Read Right Now," Seth Abramson, Huffington Post

"Kate Greenstreet is not afraid to tell us what she sees. Her 2006 debut, case sensitive, seemed, at that moment, among the most assured and uncompromising books in recent memory, but her new work The Last 4 Things is a superlative re-examination and transcension of her own narrative preoccupations, proving that a second book can illuminate the first. For her fine, homemade metaphysics, smartly deadpan cosmology, and redemptive, lyrical humanity, Greenstreet is strictly essential reading."
- Scott Wilkerson, Word For/Word. Read the whole review here.

"Challenging, electric, and crisp." - Publisher's Weekly. Read the whole review here.

"Kate Greenstreet is a Cézanne among poets, intuiting brilliantly where bare canvas—silence, restraint—says more than paint."
- Djelloul Marbrook on seven Ahsahta Press books in Galatea Resurrects. Read the whole review here.

"In a recent work, American poet Kate Greenstreet’s combination of printed text and digital videos calls into question the identity of
poetry and, more broadly, the tradition of literature and memory-making practices. The Last 4 Things (2009) reveals how technologies of memory, from writing to photography to film, change the way we record, retrieve, and remediate memories."
- Rachael Sullivan, Textual Overtures. Read the entire article here

"In the title poem of her haunting second book, Greenstreet is both nostalgic for and irreverent toward the past: 'Listen, keep in touch, I know you won’t.' Means of travel such as boats, trains, and bridges recur throughout the poem, whose landscapes are filled with bodies of water, fires, holes, rain, and the color black. Returns, departures, and journeys interweave dizzyingly, as if to suggest you can neither go forward nor back, only roam through a limbo-like space where living happens: friendship, domesticity, childhood games, filial devotion, romantic entanglement and disentanglement, grief, fear. 'Dear within,' she writes, 'I was seeing from a distance. / It stayed small for quite a while.'"
- Sara Femenella, Boston Review. Read the whole review here.

"Kate Greenstreet's The Last 4 Things is staggeringly good. It even comes with a DVD of Greenstreet mostly reading over films. Since I've never heard her read live, the DVD was tremendously helpful." - Bill Allegrezza, p-ramblings. Read the whole review here.

"Kate Greenstreet's The Last 4 Things is an insight into things near and far, with a camera serving in place of the narrative arc, the means by which the range of vision is captured. 'Every contact leaves a trace' and Greenstreet's apprehension of the nature of seeing extols us to find fruitful recognition in the bridge between object and distance." - Sophie Sills, Area Sneaks. Read the whole review here.

"The Last 4 Things is a beautifully slow, metered trek through shape-shifting characters and belief systems, encounters with family and strangers, and the weight of passing comments they leave behind. A few pages in, you might find yourself, as I did, unable to turn away from the blitz of images, light and splotches of language butting up against each other in terribly uncomfortable but somehow familiar ways. Soon you might realize that the obfuscation is a looking glass, and what ties the collection together is a deeply-rooted uncertainty—one we can neither faithfully describe, nor escape. And when our narrator is as good as Kate Greenstreet, we want to devote ourselves to the exploration." - DJ Dolack, Coldfront. Read the whole review here.

"A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Kate Greenstreet read from her first book, case sensitive (Ahsahta 2006). It struck me, at the time, how much her reading style conveyed the sense of thought in real time, as opposed to language that has been permanently crystallized and is now being rehearsed. The poems, in her mouth, carried a certain elusive feeling of spontaneity. I wondered if the poems on the page felt quite so alive, and was forced to admit, upon reading them, that while they did feel alive in a way, it seemed an inescapable quandary that once locked into the page, a poem felt, well, fixed.

"Kate Greenstreet’s second book, The Last 4 Things (Ahsahta 2009), finds a loophole in this quandary by including an accompanying film, inserted into the back flap of the cover, over which Greenstreet reads poems from the book. What impresses me about the film is that it does not act as simply a vehicle for the poems (i.e., poems read against a backdrop of images), but feels very much organic to the text, as if they were created in tandem, the images growing out of text and text growing from images (to see a short excerpt from the gorgeously composed film, click here.)" - Christina Mengert, The Constant Critic. Read the whole review here.

"One thing (there are many) Kate Greenstreet is good at is timing. Her phrases dart and meander in bursts of verbiage, intermittently interrupted by blank pages. The white space around the words is analogous to the silence that surrounds and supports a riff by Miles Davis or the cave that allows Echo's sighs to freely ring. It's like the negative space around an image, perhaps literally like the photographic negatives produced by the protagonist of The Last 4 Things, Greenstreet's new book from Ahsahta Press." - Mathew Falk, 360 Main Street. Read the whole review here.

"There can't be a manual for how to read a nonlinear text. But if from the words of a poem, 'you receive a transmission of "meaning" energy / you cannot decipher,' that can’t be a bad thing. The transmission itself is unmistakable. It’s like being in a meteor shower--a streak burns in the sky, and another, and sometimes a hot rock breaks through the roof of the house. The reader, a little off-balance, appreciates the mix of racing lights and intervals of dark.

Admirers of Greenstreet's first collection, case sensitive, have much to look forward to in her new book, The Last 4 Things, also from Ahsahta." - Maggie Schwed, Blackbird. Read the whole review here.

"On the first page, a single line, in italics, set apart from the other fonts and stanzas gives a sense of the spiritual, the other-worldly which poetry, at its best, and Greenstreet, at her best, is able to do:

I have had a Letter from another World...

This Letter, this World, the sparks of disconnected thoughts depicted through the poet's phrasing, the flashes of wisdom and the structure of this first section, with its blank pages and spaces is symbolic of her trust in silence and space as a poetic device."
- Bobbie Lurie, Jacket. Read the whole review here.

"Working directions through her tangents, through her contradictions, sharp and shocking, Greenstreet's is a poetry that fills and fulfills with every subsequent reading." - rob mclennan. Read the whole review here.

"Kate Greenstreet's deeply elegiac second full-length poetry book The Last 4 Things is an expansive meditation on a life's moments and memories flashing before one's eyes, but very slowly, each one lingering." - Dan Magers, NewPages. Read the whole review here.

"What happens when you place things side by side, when even ideas become objects to put next to windows? Kate Greenstreet's The Last 4 Things connects the dots and accepts the multiplicity, the many other ways the dots could have been connected. As readers, we are pursued by the work—by the collection of inner voices, which may or may not be a singular voice; by the exterior world with familiar and somehow unfamiliar doors, dust, and teeth; and by the sense of perpetual activity, a poem that is always holding a thought, many objects, and many ways to understand the connections between thought and thought, thought and object, object and object."
- Kristen Orser, Galatea Resurrects. Read the whole review here.

"Kate Greenstreet's The Last 4 Things is a remarkable book, following her remarkable case sensitive. Her poems are original and openly open. Her tempo and sense of tone are acute. I am an avid reader of her poetry. As a reader, 'there is room for me'—always."  - Michael Burkard

"Kate Greenstreet is a courageous writer. The poems in The Last 4 Things seem to make existential dilemma manifest. There is presence-- 'One begins with so little-- collecting, sweeping. / Or seeing it, just seeing. // Months of dust'-- and a feel throughout of story, but there is no following a story. She creates a Beckett sort of other-worldly worldliness with her very clean, very certain writing. In her words, 'making art, too, / is a kind of disappearing. A bucket with holes, on purpose.'"  - John Marshall

"She tells us how things are, and her voicings are placed exquisitely to do so. There's a sense in which this book is indispensable because it is intricate, and there's no theory that can quite explain it." - Laura Carter

"This is all strangely familiar. To use one of its own images, reading this book is like opening a folding table after closing a door. There are two kinds of hinge, we might say. You feel the grammar in your hands and your shoulders. You begin to see how the table gets you from the eggs to the window. It just stands there. Perhaps this is, as Greenstreet suggests, like a dream you sometimes have. But (and this is the thing) it is also like going for a walk or building some intricate part of a boat. It is not the place of the poet to decide.

"A poem is not a place where a decision is made and this is certainly no time to explain yourself. 'This is what went on here,' Wittgenstein taught us, 'Laugh if you can.' Greenstreet understands this, and her lines do sometimes make you laugh. But not always. She says, 'Do a dangerous thing and you’re in danger. That’s how it works.' She doesn’t tell you to live dangerously; she just tells you how it works. Or let me put it another way: she understands why you want to go to the sea but she does not know whether you will go.

"The whole issue in these pages is one of arrangement. It is about the idea that things have places, 'page after page of places,' in fact. Greenstreet puts words in these places sometimes. Sometimes not. Is a blank page also an arrangement of words? In what way is a blank page with no marks on it like a human body? Or is it like water? Suppose we had to choose: like a body or like water? Don’t just sit there, this book seems to say, let's have a look at where things go.

"A poem is made by composition, by putting things together, and when you read this book your hands tingle. The Last 4 Things brings craftsmanship to reverie; it turns dreaming into meaningful work. It is a serious approach to the grammar of our emotions and you do well to read it with your hands."  - Thomas Basbøll

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        poems/audio        interviews       a clip from the DVD