She’s done it! Kim Bridgford now holds the world’s record for composition of sonnets on the topic of world records. She is also the very first poet to rhyme “connoisseurs” with “chili peppers.” In the Extreme is a wonderfully entertaining volume, humorous, wry, and appreciative. But it is much more than a collection of “paper quips.” “Anything is possible when mind’s put to it.” Here is strong evidence for that observation.

--Fred Chappell

 

Kim Bridgford’s In the Extreme would be a considerable achievement for its simply being a flawlessly realized sonnet sequence; when you factor in that every poem is inspired by an entry in The Guinness Book of World Records it climbs to the level of tour de force. But when the poet devotes the last few sonnets to the life of Mike, the chicken who holds the record for having lived longest with his head cut off, the poem rises to a level of humanity (or chickenity) that is far above the usual plane. An amazing collection, full of wry humor and not a little pathos.

--R.S. Gwynn

 

The Most Sonnets Ever Written about
World Records. Like sleeping on beds of nails,
Holding rattlesnakes (plural) in your mouth,
Or hosting races between speedy snails,
 
This is not the sort of thing you ought
To let your children (or your neighbors)
Try at home, whether supervised or not,
Lest they end in a clinic, or the papers.
 
To save you from taking so great a risk
Or going to such trouble, Kim Bridgford
Has taken on the herculean task.
This feat, which no one else has conquered—
No one from Alaska to Madagasc-
Ar—is (Guinness take note!) its own world record.
 --H.L. Hix

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Kim Bridgford is a professor of English at Fairfield University, where she is editor of Dogwood and Mezzo Cammin. Her poetry has appeared in The North American Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Iowa Review, her fiction in The Georgia Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Redbook. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. She is the author of two books of poetry: Undone (David Robert Books, 2003), nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and Instead of Maps (David Robert Books, 2005), nominated for the Poets’ Prize. With the visual artist Jo Yarrington, she is working on a three-book project based on journey and sacred spaces, with photographs and sonnets on Iceland, Venezuela, and Bhutan.