David Allen Cates, MFA Author
In a startling voice—meditative, playful, and erotic—David Allan Cates, award-winning writer of five novels, uses memory and imagination to create indelible images of the body and desire, of separation and longing. Located between the exotic and the domestic, between the lived and imagined, these nineteen poems, some of which appeared previously in The Sun and Transmission, among other publications, describe the off-balance and dangerous dance of lovers. Because of, and despite, a world in which bombs fall and luck turns bad, the speaker in these poems struggles to situate himself: in a pond, on the ledge of a cliff, or through his own re-invention of the world. “Sparks fall and I seek shelter where I can—/naked on the wing, a hero in wet socks—/but I’m flattering myself again./It’s raining stars, love, I’ll say, and maybe you'll hear me./Maybe I'll feel you near."
I have been an admirer of David Allan Cates’ exquisite fiction since the publication of a chapbook from HUNGER IN AMERICA, his first novel. I have also harbored the long- held hunch that Cates is secretly a poet. The nineteen poems of THE MYSTERIOUS LOCATION OF KYRGYZSTAN confirm my suspicions in a truly profound and vital manner. These poems are not merely about the dazzle of language; their mode is far more important. The poems urge us to open ourselves not only to the wide, unloving world, but also to our own hearts as well, with our flaws, our short comings, our losses, and they instruct us how to love again in spite of who we are, who we’ve become. Cates gives back to us our distances, our desires and mystery so that we can “perhaps feel ourselves again.” - Kevin Goodan
Reading David Allan Cates' THE MYSTERIOUS LOCATION OF KYRGYZSTAN, I'm struck by the ways that love pours out through cadenced syntax into the vivid reaches of the world. This is a veteran writer's strong debut in poetry—musical, globally-aware, and undefended. - Greg Glazner
If poetry is inquiry, David Allan Cates has found a way to create highly memorable questions. In his vision, romantic love is the highest value, but like the cultural fluctuations of the many countries his personae travel, love rarely remains steady. Peripatetic, threnodic, and fervent, Cates’ poems employ musically conversational language to celebrate the best moments of passion and intimacy while cautioning us that we can’t always know how adult romance fails—and how it manages to resurrect itself. - Kevin J. Clark
Modern American poetry is rife with intentional obscurity and hipster detachment; nobody tell David Allan Cates! He knows there is a thin line between desire and suffering, and the poems in THE MYSTERIOUS LOCATION OF KYRGYZSTAN demonstrate one cannot exist without the other. Brimming with heart, Cates’ voice is humble in its wisdom, and these sly, sweet poems are plaintive meditations that ache with longing while simultaneously trying not to long...too much. Who says you can’t have it both ways? Moving, honest, and hard not to love, X marks the spot in Kyrgyzstan! - Christopher Locke