What happens when a poet with a Master’s degree in myth-hunting and a big job in theater travels to historically significant arenas the likes of Jerusalem, Delhi, Cape Town, and Petra? In Kim Peter Kovac’s dazzling debut Border Sounds, ancient rocks, harsh winds, improbable cacti, and the Red, Dead, and Mediterranean seas are props against which play a cast of characters as colorful as a sticky-fingered Baku border control officer, the monkey-god Hanuman, a possible Mandela jailer and a Brahmin prince. Eyewitness encounters to a sacred and secular stew of cultural iconography and national tragedy make for tensions taut as army sheets and just as impossible to reconcile. Dialects and dialogues, the magical and real, verbal and nonverbal, all swell and contract until an all-purpose agnostic is alchemized into a nearly non-believer. Accompanied by the leitmotif of Hoopoe as spirit-bird, Kovac is the ideal travel guide as he dowse(s) the soil / to stir up stories with acerbic wit, a journalistic eye, and a solemn respect for the song, pulse, and thrum of language.

  • Lissa Kiernan, author of Two Faint Lines in the Violet and Glass Needles & Goose Quills

In Border Sounds Kim Peter Kovac is scribe and guide through exotic and everyday landscapes of the outer and inner worlds. These poems probe and conjure in equal measure, simultaneously inviting and provoking us to reconcile the gaps between what is seen, felt, and imagined. He reminds us that even the secrets have secrets.

  • David Gonzalez