Kiki Petrosino was born in Baltimore and received her BA from the University of Virginia. She spent two years teaching English and Italian at a private school, after which she earned graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her debut collection, Fort Red Border (Sarabande, 2009) was praised by The Believer and shortlisted for the 2009 Foreword Book of the Year in Poetry. Petrosino is the co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal, and she teaches creative writing at the University of Louisville.
The poems in this, Kiki Petrosino's second collection, fulfill the promise of her debut effort, Fort Red Border, and further extend the terms of our expectations for this extraordinary young poet. The book is in two sections, the first a focused collection of wildly inventive lyrics that take as launch pad such far flung subjects as allergenesis, the contents and significance of swamps, a revised notion of marriage, and ancestors—both actual and dreamed. The eponymous second section is a cogent series, or long poem, based on a persona named "the eater," who, along with the poems themselves, storms voraciously through tablefuls of Chinese delicacies (each poem in the series takes its titles from an actual Chinese dish), as well as through doubts and confident proclamations from regions of an exploratory self. Hymn for the Black Terrific has Falstaffian panache; it is a book of pure astonishment.
"Kiki Petrosino’s new collection, Hymn for the Black Terrific, is the kind of book that makes readers of poetry ignite with joy and those who do not read poetry suddenly find themselves in love with verse. Petrosino’s hymn is a song for the human, for the animal we are and for the starlight we are. Cold, self-conscious, ironic poetry is out. Petrosino’s warm, intelligent, wild, blood-and-bone poetry is in. Thank god for that."