hands holding a lit candle

KARI FLICKINGER Poet. Singer. Musician. Storyteller 16 August 1983 – 2nd May 2022

Renée Sigel Publisher Rare Swan Press

A year ago, on May 2nd 2022, the writing community lost a very talented poet. I was only just getting to know her. I wrote her spontaneously after catching a glimpse of an excerpt from Ceiling Fan online. I’d read her work before and very much wanted to give Ceiling Fan a ‘forever home’. Her response was immediate and so generous and warm. Her on-camera reserve belied a very bold artistry, diverse, original and absolutely fearless. She was a dream collaborator; a natural and talented editor with a depth of technical and intuitive poetic knowledge. Her poetry is a force of nature, as is her voice and its stunning lyrical vocal range. Her musicality undeniable.

RARE SWAN PRESS is honoured to have published Kari’s last collection. That her loss is profoundly felt here, as it is across the literary and poetry communities, is an understatement. Something in all of us shattered on May 2nd, and yet, her voice will always resonate, off the page and across the airwaves. Her guitar will, still, intermittently strut its stuff beneath her deft fingering. She is and always will be much loved and held close to the heart of each of us.

This page was originally Kari’s CEILING FAN book page and it feels only right to leave it here, while opening this space up to everyone who knew, loved and worked with her. A celebratory space of a artist with an indomitable spirit, even in the darkest of hours.

Sung from her skilful throat/ her ink-songs in operatic hold /

lungs breath-fed/

– a leaving drawn of sage and lemongrass/

she sings, still. Our mourner’s prayer …

Courtesy of Bill Abney


We read chapbooks, spend our lives with poems, or novels, short stories and even biographies, with seldom a thought at the time and journey that went into its coming together, as well as the experiences lived to make it onto paper in the first place. With the first edition of CEILING FAN already a sell out, we are delighted to offer a 2nd edition.

Ceiling Fan is one of those reading experiences which have one believing it had to have been written in a ‘single sitting’. It’s not often that editors and publishers come across a work that immediately commands attention and demands to be read in the immediacy of the moment. And while it speaks to the reader with the immediacy of being written in a single sitting, Ceiling Fan is the painstaking assemblage of over a decade of writing.


A visionary hallucinatory poemsuite of interconnected elliptical fragments, a submergence at world’s end,  Kari Flickinger’s “Ceiling Fan” excavates pain and loss, spinning them with metallic blades of memory/betrayal, where the soul/ body duality is ruminative, harrowing, prophetic. Who is the “I”, the “we”, unclasped, disengaged; dragging musical rhythms and syntactical experiments, this is the flat-lined, staccato howl of somnolence & its after/image, where rage and exhaustion are a prescient spiraling anhedonia. Struggling for oxygen, Kari creates a fractious embrace for every wide-awake, broken-hearted reader. Her explosive, musical, meditative, and always luminous text, is complexly, visually orchestrated. A brilliant achievement, this night-crawl of enigmatic, all arch architectonics, is revenant ballet.

Robert Frede Kenter author of EDEN; publisher, Ice Floe Press www.icefloepress.net

Constructed as a brilliant extended metaphor for pain and loss, Kari Flickinger’s Ceiling Fan dissects the end of a relationship in a linked sequence of poems that are a meditation on the properties and attributes of the fan itself, and a masterclass in the poetic art of connectedness. Whether at rest or as a blur, the fan becomes a conduit for the stages of grief; an object observed with an intensity of focus that becomes redemptive; and, most impressively, an animate depiction of the human paradox in all its creative, destructive complexity. Flickinger’s ability to conjure precisely imagined locations—the call center cubicle, the blind-slashed kitchen window—keeps the sequence rooted and profoundly recognizable while the ceiling fan’s hypnotic power spins us out into a surreal vision of the loss of self in a chaotic universe. This multidimensional, technically dazzling, and emotionally empowering work never fails to impress and the last stanza will knock you into the quantum.

Jude Marr, author of We Know Each Other By Our Wounds

Kari Flickinger In Coversation, with Marcelle Newbold

book opened on top of white table beside closed red book and round blue foliage ceramic cup on top of saucer

Kari and Marcelle dive deep into the process and experiences which shaped and insired this remarkable assemblage into being ….

K. Weber

I have been such a fan of Kari’s poems over the last few years. Reading her work feels so intimate, important and lingers long after. One of my favourite things about her poetry is hearing her read it aloud. The dimension her voice and the pacing she gives her words transcends how I read the poems on the page. Her rhythm is unique, unexpected and deeply affecting. Kari so warmly allows us a glimpse into places so sacred, special, difficult and emotional, in her work. Her kindness and support of others will echo alongside us always. Take good care, everyone!

Eat The Storms Podcast featuring Ceiling Fan read by Kari Flickinger

For details on each of the participants in the show

IN THE MEDIA Review by Mab Jones in BUZZ Mag WALES & an Interview in LONGLEAF REVIEW

Kari on Soundcloud. Her song covers and Poetry Readings

Emma Lee

You sent me a playlist

(i.m Kari Flickinger)

It starts gentle, lapping waves

enticing me in, what do the deeper

oceans contain? 

I don’t want to be dancing bare

foot on the beach, feeling sand

file the dead skin, expose

the tender layers to be bruised

by pebbles not yet worn to grains.

The sea’s buoyancy

makes the dance less harsh

but the tide pulls us back to the beach,

washing us in brine, regrets,

cleans our memories of love.

My laptop’s keyboard thumps when I press play,

as if a message is trying to get out

if only it could find the right medium.

Jessica Barksdale

LIVE LAUNCH With host Damien Donnelly and Guests

Kari Flickinger

Kari Flickinger is the author of The Gull and the Bell Tower (Femme Salvé Books). Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and the SFPA Rhysling Award. She belongs to the UC Berkeley alumni. Her poetry is widely published in poetry journals and magazines.



Rare Swan Press. All Rights Reserved 2011 – 2022

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