When I finished reading Our Prayers After the Fire I saw that my fists were clenched tight. I’d been trying to grab a fistful, punch my way in. I wanted to get inside this book, figure out how it did what it did. I felt grateful and jealous, two of my favorite emotions when reading. Now my fists are open, my palms out. Katie Jean Shinkle is a writer who makes you beg for more, more, more.
Our Prayers After the Fire’s exquisite discontinuation lays waste to the tired turns of conventional fiction. Every sentence is a wonder here, every gesture is fresh, and Katie Jean Shinkle has given us a book that’s as wacky, consecrated, and as unsettling as a fever.
Katie Jean Shinkle performs extraordinary feats of emotional and narrative funambulism in Our Prayers After the Fire. Her linguistic high-wire dexterity is gorgeous and devastating in equal measure. It is, in fact, the painful deadpan beauty of the prose that will knock you to your knees and allow you to feel things you may never have felt. Prepare to be happily shattered.
Katie Jean Shinkle is the author of four books and seven chapbooks, most recently None of This is an Invitation (coauthored with Jessica Alexander, Astrophil Press at University of South Dakota, forthcoming) and Thick City (Bull City Press, forthcoming). Our Prayers After the Fire, originally published on Blue Square Press, will be reissued by Spuyten Duyvil in 2022. Other work can be found in or is forthcoming from Flaunt Magazine, Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Fugue, Crazyhorse, Witness, South Dakota Review, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Denver, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alabama. A 2021 Lambda Literary fellow, she serves as co-poetry editor of DIAGRAM and teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing program at Sam Houston State University.