available now from

Persian Pony Press


It is a rare thing to run across a collection of poems that lands in exquisite equipoise between that which is said and that which is silent.  The spaces between sing, whisper, weep. They declaim love for the imperfect and the impermanent.  To experience Kristin Berger’s Refugia is to skip stones across a frozen river, is to lay one’s ear against the groaning ice.

―Wendy Willis, author of A Long Late Pledge


Refugia, poems by Kristin Berger, Persian Pony Press, 2019. Includes signed copy, bookmark and shipping.


More about REFUGIA:

In Refugia, Kristin Berger undertakes the ambitious project of ontology. “the animal in me/ hunts for a time before/ it all began,” she reveals, while also stating, “Always, it’s the last night on earth.” The stakes are incredibly high in this elegant, enigmatic collection. How do we conceive of ourselves as biological creatures trapped in time, but also carriers of meaning responsible for the future? If we understand the fragility of the ever shifting balance between ourselves and the universe, “we might save the world, or,/ at least, the rough light.

―Anatoly Molotkov, author of Application of Shadows

Each page of Kristin Berger’s Refugia contains an oblique litany: a call and its short response connected by imagination’s unbreakable thread, a lyric interchange offering us the refuge of love—Eros with a capital E. Here, Berger’s poems span the extremities of weather and calendar, of elements and lifetimes. Here, the marriage bed is a morning storm, is a sky’s tantrum, is a river’s assurance, is heat stretched out like a tarmac. This book is the haven in which “…so much love enters from hidden runnels,/ we cannot help but widen.”

  —Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

Refugia, Kristin Berger’s evocative two-section sequence, begins with a question: “When winter runs out, / who will hold the night clock?” Answers accumulate, first from childhood recollected, and then especially by love made one – answers at once elusive, sensory, nuanced as the seasons, always in a choral two-step of observation and comment.  Compelled by memory and moment, by the known and that achingly lost, Berger’s generous lyric voice does not falter, even knowing, as it does, “We may never be touched again / quite like this spring loves the earth.”

―Lex Runcimen, author of Salt Moons

In Kristin Berger’s latest book, Refugia, the natural and human worlds mingle in gorgeously unsettling ways. The winterscape she presents us with is anything but dead, brimming with mystery and the kinds of contrasts that speak to larger truths.  Dead grass and a mother’s voice. The lip of a blowndown forest and apple blossoms. Wire razors and white music. These images “shouldn’t have been able to reach us, / but they did; called us out, called us in”. Berger calls us in by painting quietly self-assured portraits of what seems, on the surface, outside us. But nothing is truly outside us. Even a willow leaf “might save the world, or, / at least, the rough light.” Imaginative, lucid, haunting, Refugia is a heartfelt reflection on recognizing that rough light as it filters down through and blossoms up from a frozen, vulnerable landscape forever on the verge of thaw.

―John Sibley Williams, author of As One Fire Consumes Another and Skin Memory



from Cirque Press

in Portland at Another Read Through, Like Nobody’s Business,

and Mother Foulcault’s Bookstore,

and in Lake Forest Park, Washington at Third Place Books


Echolocation: Poems, by Kristin Berger, from Cirque Press, 2018 Includes signed copy, broadside and shipping



If we have forgotten that poetry is a call sent out into the world to rediscover and name our hearts, minds, and bodies, Kristin Berger’s beautiful new book of poems reminds us of poetry’s good and necessary work.  Berger’s Echolocation leads us into that work, honestly and elegantly inviting us to know our own lives and landscapes. This is a wise book that reminds us that resilience is real, is close. “Remember,” Berger tells us, “love is a breath / we are invited to take. / Wild, fond, near.”

~ Annie Lighthart, author of Lantern and Iron String

Echolocation hovers over the earth as bat, as moon, as astronaut. Hope for the future flutters like prayer flags, “How does the earth tilt towards a deaf darkness while the body, somewhere, aches towards bloom?” Only Berger seems to be able to hold this tension, this unknowing, so deftly throughout her luminous book. Berger convinces us that the world is always on fire and love is the rain. “Let’s inhale this rare thing, like a blessing,” she pleads. In every page of Echolocation Berger sings the moment into its full beauty, and we hold our chests thankful, hoping.

~ Claudia F. Savage, author of Bruising Continents

In Kristin Berger’s words you will find an almost archetypal love story—between the speaker and her beloved and between the lovers and the natural world. Berger tells us that, “to love like this/ [you have to] know how to kneel in the ruins, like children, unfound and pleased.” The exquisite descriptions of natural phenomena lend a lushness to the poems’ stark truths. Absorbed, with the speaker, in the intense pain of love ending, the reader will believe the sorrowful news that “[w]e may never get what we want in this lifetime.” And yet the beauty that permeates these pages will inspire her to go on.

 ~ Ann Tweedy, author of The Body’s Alphabet

Kristin Berger’s Echolocation is ‘pastoral’ in the sense ascribed to Elizabethan drama. It portrays the natural world as a stage that ornaments and is infused by grand love affairs. Readers who want their poetic romances anchored in vivid, concrete imagery won’t be disappointed. But others who seek deft concision and memorable phrasing will be more pleased. For all the poems’ intuitive appositions and palimpsests, Berger doesn’t just build intriguing lists of things. Instead, she cunningly evokes intimate experience and sensibility with “namings of parts,” in the manner Henry Reed employed…Berger’s Echo has a tremendous power to put us in the throes of a love that has already become natural history.

~Manny Blacksher, Poetry Editor for Light: A Journal of Photography and Poetry


How Light Reaches Us

How Light Reaches Us: Poems, by Kristin Berger, Aldrich Press, 2016. Includes signed copy, broadside and shipping.



“Kristin Berger’s How Light Reaches Us is a finely woven, image-rich exploration of self and landscape that gets to the very core of what poetry is about: language borrowed from the land, yet language of a voice so true that there could be none other. Berger’s language, then, is both lovely and lucid, leading us to “that sharp time of sage / blooming from my skirts,” to the deep knowledge of place found only by keen understanding and her even keener pen. In reading her book, we can’t help but become our own wardens of the land because her lyric is so sure, creating in us not just the “proof,” as she writes, but the necessary yearning “of this strange love / loping the steppe like hunger.” It’s a hunger nourished throughout the book but not sated until the last fine poem. It’s a hunger we need.”

– Simmons Buntin, Editor-in-Chief, A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments

“Slip out of the main stem of the world,” begins Kristin Berger’s poem Oxbow. “Detour,” it lures. This is the journey How Light Reaches Us takes us on: Into our rapturous interior, revealed through the penetrating gaze of landscape. To be included among these poems is a kind of worship. They reach like great redwoods steeped in season, time and sky. My own animal ache is more vivid and vast as I stand in this glade of interstitial light.”

– Sage Cohen, author of Fierce on the Page (forthcoming from Writers Digest Books), and Like the Heart, the World: Poems, (Queen of Wands Press)

“In her recent collection, How Light Reaches Us, Kristin Berger offers “…a thousand collaborations between night and the world…” The body is a landscape and the elements of the earth seek touch in Berger’s meander through the territories; tremulous, aching for an absent other. It is hot there, icy in “the creep of winter,” wrecked with contradiction, so ready for something just ahead, almost seen, where “a train, far off, is as insistent as a rusted tragedy.” It might be painful but (oh my) “I have tasted you my whole life.”  Surrender to it, reader, because only then will you find “the one wide and waiting in sweet ambush.” Only then will you see the light.”

– Sandra Kleven, Editor, Cirque: A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim

CéjaThalwegJaralDesire Path: line of trees edging a meadow, underwater divide in a stream, scrub plains, shortcut through a wild place. This book contains all of these. Her vision heightened by time spent in the Oregon outback, Kristin Berger conveys and re-creates the deep sensuality of landscape. The whole beautiful collection is a love poem to our physical world.”

~ Penelope Scambly Schott, author of A Is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth, Oregon Book Award

Also available from Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press

and in Portland, Oregon at Another Read Through


For the Willing: Poems 

Finishing Line Press, 2008. Order here!


“These are poems to conjure with. For us, the willing, Kristin Berger tells the natural history of motherhood as tautly, as fiercely, as just plain — well — as I’ve ever read it. From the roots of beets to the dust-bowls of wrens to the blue highways of birth-ready breasts and the arc of a kid on a bike, her poems travel for the garden, for the world, for all of us.”

~ Robert Michael Pyle, author of Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year, and The Thunder Tree.


VoiceCatcher 6Edited by Kristin Berger and Toni Partington, 2011.


Featuring 45 female authors and 25 female artists from the Portland/Vancouver area in the Pacific Northwest, VoiceCatcher 6 captures the diverse voices of award winners, emerging writers, and beginners through a rich selection of poetry, prose, and the visual arts.

VoiceCatcher Journal