Kelli Russell Agodon


Kelli Russell Agodon (1969-present) was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She attended the University of Washington and Pacific Lutheran University where she received an MFA in creative writing. Kelli co-founded and is the editor of Two Sylvias Press as well as the Co-Director of Poets on the Coast: A Retreat for Women Poets. She is also a member of the Seattle7 Writers, a nonprofit that raises awareness and money for literacy organizations in the Pacific Northwest, and was the editor of Seattle’s Crab Creek Review from 2008 - 2014. She is currently writing her fourth collection of poetry. Source

String Theory Relationships

The essential idea is this — the man you love is connected to you

no matter what, but he’s also connected to the woman


     down the street with the small dog that barks at the lilacs,

     and she’s connected to the cashier at the market who’s a bit rough


with your grapes, but he thinks you’re ten years younger than you are

and he gives you free saltwater taffy and calls you


     darling — but he also calls her darling, and her dog

     darling, and the man you love along with the grapes.


The essential idea is this — all objects are composed of vibrating anxieties

— everyone wants a window or aisle seat and no one wants to sit


     in the middle. Call it deniability. Call it the flashlight you keep

     by the door never works in emergencies. We are all connected


by the blast that brought us here, the big bang,

the slam dunk, the heavy petting. We can’t always be pretty.


     We can’t always be the eyelash and the wink, sometimes we have to be

     the ear, sometimes the mouth. You are and are not the speaker in this story —


you are the bridge connected to the bridge connected to the man

you love and the woman you dislike who teaches spin class. It’s not


     personal. It’s not personal when the universe says it’s complicated

     and you have ten minutes to understand quantum physics.


When the man you love says there’s a new connection called supersymmetry

and it exists between two fundamentally different types of particles


     called bosons and fermions, you hear bosoms and females.

     You hear he’s thinking about the spin teacher with the nice breasts


and you burrow deeper. The essential idea is this — someone will always bruise

your grapes and someone will end up in the middle. Someone you love


     will break your favorite coffee mug and bring you lilacs. And you

     will be connected to people who make your eyes roll.


You’ll be connected to others who stand on the bridge and consider jumping off.

You’ll try to care for them. And you will not look your age, but you will


     feel sad when you look in the mirror because we all want to live

     a little longer, because the small dog has died and the cashier


has lost his job for stealing saltwater taffy from the bin, but he still calls you darling,

calls everyone darling, and today, darling, darling, darling, the flashlight works.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Love & Relationships

Science & Climate

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence


a break between words within a metrical foot


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


words or phrases repeated one after another in quick succession

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


the repetition of conjunctions frequently and in close proximity in a sentence


a recurrence of the same word or phrase two or more times