Sky, trees, water, birds: though nature appears everywhere in my work, it rarely does so for its own sake. It is more symbolic of internal or external struggle, development, and thought rather than as “pretty” detail. The poems in The Light Tears Loose move from illustrations of light into dark – then darker – territory before they morph back to light.

Past and present circumstances often feel overwhelming, but it is in seeking that “silver lining” that we find reason to move forward, to keep going when the way seems vague or threatening. Our fear in living does not keep us from experiencing love and beauty, friendship and brightness along the way.

As witnesses in the world, by connecting with nature, we can indulge ourselves with rest and renewal because we see it happen day after day, season after season. Darkness and winter come to us all but so do sunshine and spring. This is what we hold on to, even when the shadows creep so close we can’t breathe. Keep moving forward: on the other side is the light.

By KB Ballentine


In The Light Tears Loose, KB Ballentine explores the physical and psychic gradations of light and dark with a naturalist’s eye for exquisite detail and a musician’s ear for the sonic power of language to carry meaning. In these poems, self and nature reveal themselves in the flux of creation and destruction, torn loose from their immersion in the daily sensual world. Continuing her search for mystical union, Ballentine faces loss with spare lyricism and haunting grace. The book’s profound embodiment in the natural world serves as ballast and celebration.

    —Teresa Cader

 In this sixth collection of poems, KB uses her remarkable gifts of observation and words to capture and remind the reader of the beauty around us: stones softened with moss; the wrens’ psalm; winter’s brittle breath still sculpting field and forest. But just as fog silences the crescent moon, the poet exhorts us to enjoy this beauty now, for life is finite and the journey fraught with sorrow, pain, and aging: the next world stenciled under the skin.

    —Jim Johnston, author of Exile Revisited and The Price of Peace

 Light and dark tug each other's sleeve in KB Ballentine's luminous collection, The Light Tears Loose, each a pulse in the literal and the emotional landscape. And both must be present if we are to grow and heal, an arc of shadow within and without, "as we lean / into the wind, knowing this road will lead us home." Amid the opposites that weave us into ourselves, we must carry this knowing as both the "snowdrift and starlight ascending." Read, as Frost writes, "and be whole again beyond confusion." 

    —Linda Parsons, author of Candescent and This Shaky Earth