The Ninetieth Day
Poems about Love, Loss, & Leftovers for Breakfast
by Kristin J. Leonard
The Ninetieth Day: Poems about Love, Loss, & Leftovers for Breakfast is a collection of poetry that seeks to explore the everyday moments and musings in life that linger between love and loss, and more importantly, those that are forgotten as soon as they pass (in other words, leftovers for breakfast). Such moments include: waking up to sparkles of sunlight; finding a way to persist when life is not as ordinary as you’d like it to be; a frozen-in-time elevator ride to visit a loved one in the hospital; and more.
About the Author
Kristin J. Leonard is an adjunct college instructor that resides in Maine. She is a proud mother (of both children and chihuahuas) and looks forward to summer vacation, when she’ll finally have the opportunity to dig in her garden. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from University of Southern Maine, an MA in English (Literature), and a Graduate Certificate in Rhetoric, Writing, & Digital Media Studies from Northern Arizona University, where she is also completing doctoral studies in Education.
Her critical and creative work have appeared in The Explicator, The Atlantic, Postcolonial Text, The Ekphrastic Review, and more. She is the 2019 recipient of the Maine Literary Award for Drama, the 2019 recipient of Meetinghouse Theatre Lab’s Maine Playwright’s Award, and Lit Fest’s 2019 Dramatic Writing Fellow for Emerging Writers. She is currently working on yet another revision of her first novel, an historical fiction that takes place during the housing crash of 2007. On most mornings, she can be found typing away at her kitchen table, still struggling to find the right word.
There is more life within these pages than many people endure in their own lifetimes. An abundance of unexpected moments is masterfully intermixed with the familiar, all of which comes from deeper than the heart, because it emanates from the vast experiences of a sagacious, ageless soul. And luckily this brilliant poet has a superb knack for verse, wordsmith ingenuity, cadence, and style. Those skills are coupled with a superior nuanced language that perfectly matches the content, topics, themes, and mood, thus delivering plenty of thrills that delight and poignant introspections that resonate.
—David E. Grubb, poet
I read poetry for its sonic appeal and impression of a story. Leonard strikes notes of Gluck, Olds, and Piercey. In most of the pieces in this collection, the woman is indeed running screaming from the burning house, but she lets you up for air with a quiet one just when you need it. I have added Leonard to my favorites.
—Shellie Leger, author of Back Kingdom Road House
Kristin Leonard’s debut chapbook is packed with poetry that is, in turn, reflective and searching. Her unassuming, honest, heart-felt verses draw from a deep well of a full, well-lived life that keeps moving in a quest to make sense of it all. Readers come face-to-face with the tough questions, and sometimes answers, we all contemplate as Leonard navigates through the intimate maize of loves, heartaches, and losses of our humanity. Like a conversation over coffee with a good friend, you’ll come away from these poems with a sense that someone else understands just how you’re feeling.
—Kathryn M. Balteff, MA, MFA
instructor, Southern Maine Community College
She had me at leftovers for breakfast, and the collection serves up tastebud surprises that will startle readers out of habitual stupors. Leonard’s poem “On the Corner of 16th Street and Bethany Home” serves up begging figs that will sharpen your eyes faster than espresso, even while mesmerizing your mind with potential but uncertain meanings. In “Checked Yes,” the slim remainder of one-half of a gram leaves your own stomach empty and lurching for fairness. The smell of shortbread lingers in a house since demolished, for both the living and the unrelated, long-walking dead. These poems remind us that our lives are irrevocably made possible through the ingested deaths of others, and we can think of ourselves as those leftover—serving as someone else’s sustenance come the new day.
Neltje Blanchan Memorial Writing Award Winner
Kristin’s poetry is the morning sunlight you’ve forgotten to notice with its fun forms and wordplay sending reminders of how even the smallest things in life can breathe meaning into love, loss, and family. A wonderful little rumination on life and death and everything in between.
—Darcy Casey, author
In The Ninetieth Day, Poems about Love, Loss, and Leftovers for Breakfast, Kristin Leonard shares intimate moments of yearning and memory, humor and regret—moments that combine with skillful use of intimation and sensuous detail to resonate within the reader’s heart long after the page is turned. Highly recommended.