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The Ocean Cannot Be Blue, Poems by Kirsten Hampton

cover In The Ocean Cannot Be Blue, Kirsten Hampton set out not to write an authoritative history, but rather a poetic narrative about her family that is useful in the ripening reply to questions on an equitable society posed by Loving v. Virginia and larger history. While scholars and media pose hypotheses on the impact of the Loving case, Hampton contributes - through intimate, human experience - to the broadening of our modern consideration of love, law, gender, culture, identity and race.

Sample Poems by Kirsten Hampton

"The Ocean Cannot Be Blue is a testament to history made better by poetry. Exploring the case of an interracial legal battle, Hampton has written a literary and historic masterwork. With virtuosity, Hampton guides her threads through a complex tapestry of narrative and factual data, making a riveting read about profound humanistic issues. Hampton has written a definitive document with poetic power that will last for many years to come. Skill, lyricism, invention - this debut book is a triumph." -Grace Cavalieri "The Poet and the Poem" from the Library of Congress

"Kirsten Hampton's significant achievement in this beautiful book is to create a deeply personal, entirely original and persuasive perspective on our country's intractable problem of racism. She weaves a mesmerizing web of geological and historical time and record, watercourses and watersheds, and legal documentation, all of which combine with wonderfully poetic grace to create a beautiful argument. This is a distinctive, profound, impressive debut collection." -Sidney Wade, Professor Emerita, University of Florida; President, Association of Writing Programs, 2006-07

Kirsten Hampton has published articles, stories and poems in literary and academic journals. For her poetry, she was a 2017 finalist for the Cider Press Review Book Award judged by Lauren K. Alleyne and a 2018 finalist for the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize. A selection of her poems was also nominated for the Best of the Net. She has received poetry fellowships and residencies from The Gettysburg Review, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

The daughter of a composer and painter, and a graduate of Cornell University, Hampton began her career working in British Parliament, U.S. Congress and performing arts institutions. She served in higher education as a Vice President and Associate Dean and later became Chief Operating Officer for a Washington, D.C. think tank. She now partners with her husband in a management and media consulting company, and in making documentary films.