Wednesday, December 20, 2023

new from above/ground press: But Then I Thought, by Kyla Houbolt

But Then I Thought
Kyla Houbolt


Is it ethical to be a frog when the snow is on the ground? To be a frog in winter, in a sound mind and body of amphibious elegance? It isn't right! sing the bugs in their dens, we never got a chance to have amphibious elegance, we only got chitinous chic which is far far less groovy. The bugs grouse among themselves, crowding the rotting tree trunks, clicking and whirring and taking committee votes. But the unconcerned frog, who is not hungry for bug at the moment, casts no stones. There is no call to fiddle with all them bugs! thinks the frog to itself, preening in its winter mudhole. Meanwhile, Creator, in the form of Raven, listens in with amusement. None of these creatures know what's to come, or how blessed their lives are. Though that smug frog might need to be taken down a peg or two, he thinks. Maybe it's time to send in the crows. And of course the poets are listening to all this, and each one is writing notes, and all the notes are different. This is the blessing and the curse of poetry: that it never agrees and that it never agrees. Ethics? Maybe in the spaces between.
published in Ottawa by above/ground press
December 2023
as part of above/ground press’ thirtieth anniversary
a/g subscribers receive a complimentary copy

I read Kyla Houbolt’s poems with excitement — where else am I going to hear about spam farms, heron language, wish onions, and other statistically improbable but poetically inevitable concepts? Who else can find complete and shapely stories to go with those words? What happens next? Something we wouldn’t guess, I think.
        Jordan Davis, author of Noise and Yeah, No

cover artwork by the author

Kyla Houbolt has been writing poems all her life, and began publishing in 2019.  Her first chapbook, Dawn's Fool, was published by Ice Floe press and is sold out; her second, Tuned, was published by CCCP Chapbooks + Subpress. Surviving Death, from Broken Spine, is her third. But Then I Thought is her fourth.  Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Sublunary Review, Barren, Janus, Juke Joint, Moist, Neologism, Ghost City Review, and Saginaw. Most of her online work can be found on her Linktree: @luaz_poet | Linktree Her current social media presence is on BlueSky Social (still in beta as of this writing), here:, and on Instagram @kyla_luaz.

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