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"The Familiar is a wonderous, enticing, thought provoking collection, that needs to be read slowly, multiple times, ideally alongside the poet’s previous collection, Fabulous Beast, which is a mythopoetic exploration of Femininity in ways that defy easy explanation. Read together or separately, it is obvious, in just two books, Gutowski has created a formidable body of work.."

— Alan Catlin, Reviewer, London Grip

"Gutowski looks unflinchingly at the animal part of ourselves — our potential for harm — that we often refuse to acknowledge."

— Jessica Cuello, Poetry Editor, Tahoma Literary Review

"What matters is this: Sarah Kain Gutowski has a voice in American poetry. It's a unique, finely tuned voice that does not rely on effects, and resonates with music that is unquestionably hers. She writes about being a woman, a mother, a lover, in ways that avoid all the common pitfalls of gender writing, of political angles, and the studied obfuscation of the prevailing style..."

Stephanos Papadopoulos, author of The Black Sea

Reviews of The Familiar: Poems

"Ultimately, the acuity of the narrative voice belies a suggestion of dissimilation.  The tone of the collection is consistent, ironic, even occasionally bemused, too much in control to be trapped in a personal Infinity Box endlessly creating and recreating the Self.  That is unless The Self is master necromancer beyond exorcism and the “shrinks” that are mentioned as more necessary than priests. Maybe we are in a dystopian science fiction experiment like “Orphan Black”, where the Selves are clones in an ill-thought-out end game that has monsters like Caliban in it. More likely, the wry double-edged observation of Ordinary Self is closer to the mark: that she is a kind of Cassandra who predicts the future and no one cares whether she is right or wrong. The simplest succinct answer to the questions posed seems to be, “It’s obvious we are a clusterfuck.” I’ll buy that."

—Alan Catlin in Misfit Magazine

"An original and strange poetic battle of wills between the "ordinary self" and the "extraordinary self" of a woman negotiating marriage, family, and career at midlife. One persona, organized and patient, seeks an orderly life; the other is a force for creativity and chaos. Things turn dark as one tries to exterminate the other. The overarching narrative is suspenseful, but I also find the book very moving--The Familiar is certainly about gender and ambition, but it also strikes me as a book about anxiety and depression, how one might cope with them while forging an integrated self."

Lesley Wheeler, author of The State She's In and Poetry Editor of Shenandoah

"This narrative/non-narrative is incredibly self-aware, smart, and deeply penetrating into our own psyches, more than the author's. All that we do to control our fears, anxieties, and aspects of ourselves that we don't like, non of it can get rid of them. As [Gutowski] so brilliantly says at the end, 'in the end, no lesson remains.' The Familiar remains forever. Next time we look in the mirror, which Self will gaze back into us?"

Dylan Webster, author of Dislocated

"Sarah Kain Gutowski’s, The Familiar, is a complex, deep probing exploration of the many aspects of the self."

Review of The Familiar in London Grip by Alan Catlin

"The book leaves me feeling more apt to embrace the chaos, or call it luck. The compilation of selves in this extraordinary book are now scored too deeply on my imagination to be easily scrubbed away."

Review of The Familiar in Escape Into Life by Bethany Reid

Reviews of Fabulous Beast: Poems

"In her prose poem epilogue, Gutowski introduces two major threads of this collection: motherhood and myth . . ."

Review of Fabulous Beast in Exit 7 by Amelia Martens, Associate Editor and Review Editor

"Here, in the language of the final poem, even as the mother assumes human shape and cares for a human child, a son, she remains in 'this other female’s' body. The mother is not a woman who was briefly transformed into a sow. The mother is the sow who occasionally becomes human. How long will she be locked in a strange new skin? Forever, Gutowski suggests. Mothering is forever, and the mists that shroud it are inescapable."

"Beastly Mother, Motherly Beast" by Sarah Beddow for The Hairsplitter

Interviews and Recordings

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