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What Kind of Woman

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A stunning and honest debut poetry collection about the beauty and hardships in being a mother, a wife, and a woman.  “When life throws you a bag of sorrow, hold out your hands/Little by little, mountains are climbed.” So ends Kate Baer’s remarkable poem “Things My Girlfriends Teach Me.” In “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” she challenges her reader to consider their A stunning and honest debut poetry collection about the beauty and hardships in being a mother, a wife, and a woman.  “When life throws you a bag of sorrow, hold out your hands/Little by little, mountains are climbed.” So ends Kate Baer’s remarkable poem “Things My Girlfriends Teach Me.” In “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” she challenges her reader to consider their grandmother’s cake, the taste of the sea, the cool swill of freedom. In her poem “Deliverance” about her daughter’s birth she writes “What is the word for when the light leaves the body?/What is the word for when it/at last, returns?” Through poems that are as unforgettably beautiful as they are accessible, Kate proves herself to truly be an exemplary voice in modern poetry. As easy to post on Instagram as they are to print out and frame, Kate’s words make women feel seen in their own bodies, in their own marriages, and in their own lives. Her poems are those you share with your mother, your daughter, your sister, and your friends.


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A stunning and honest debut poetry collection about the beauty and hardships in being a mother, a wife, and a woman.  “When life throws you a bag of sorrow, hold out your hands/Little by little, mountains are climbed.” So ends Kate Baer’s remarkable poem “Things My Girlfriends Teach Me.” In “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” she challenges her reader to consider their A stunning and honest debut poetry collection about the beauty and hardships in being a mother, a wife, and a woman.  “When life throws you a bag of sorrow, hold out your hands/Little by little, mountains are climbed.” So ends Kate Baer’s remarkable poem “Things My Girlfriends Teach Me.” In “Nothing Tastes as Good as Skinny Feels” she challenges her reader to consider their grandmother’s cake, the taste of the sea, the cool swill of freedom. In her poem “Deliverance” about her daughter’s birth she writes “What is the word for when the light leaves the body?/What is the word for when it/at last, returns?” Through poems that are as unforgettably beautiful as they are accessible, Kate proves herself to truly be an exemplary voice in modern poetry. As easy to post on Instagram as they are to print out and frame, Kate’s words make women feel seen in their own bodies, in their own marriages, and in their own lives. Her poems are those you share with your mother, your daughter, your sister, and your friends.

30 review for What Kind of Woman

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate Baer

    It's almost like the author knew EXACTLY what I was thinking (?) It's almost like the author knew EXACTLY what I was thinking (?)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    You think women sit around together and burn bras? The women in this book are good girls, bad girls, single, wives, mothers, dancers, counselors, wicked, sad, lonely, secretive, grieving, happy, fearful of happiness, angry, sad, regretful, tired, tireless, have desires, they arrange plates of bread and fruit, wear rubber gloves, plant gardens, go back to college, pay off debts, give away books, find each other‘s childhood, they share blistered scars, get half drunk, ready to love, and vary in age You think women sit around together and burn bras? The women in this book are good girls, bad girls, single, wives, mothers, dancers, counselors, wicked, sad, lonely, secretive, grieving, happy, fearful of happiness, angry, sad, regretful, tired, tireless, have desires, they arrange plates of bread and fruit, wear rubber gloves, plant gardens, go back to college, pay off debts, give away books, find each other‘s childhood, they share blistered scars, get half drunk, ready to love, and vary in age. “Girls night out” “In restaurants we argue over who will pay even though the real question is who will confess their children are dull or their marriage has holes at the knees. We order french fries, salads, and Brie. Hold wine to our lips. Pull truth from our bags that we kept all along. She wonders— do you remember when I cried in the cab. Wore that skirt with the sleeves. Left him alone in the rain. We do, we do”. “Robyn Hood” “Imagine if we took back our diets, our grand delusions, the time spent thinking about the curve as our form. Imagine if we took back every time we called attention to one or the other: her body, our body, the bad shape of things. Imagine the minutes that would stretch into hours. Day after day stolen back like a thief. Imagine the power of loose arms and assurance. Years years welcome home in a soft, cotton dress”. “Comment Section” for Karen “I wish you would stick to poetry instead of constantly being political, just one reader preference have you ever thought what would happen if the police disappeared ed? is what you say going to change anything? (No) when you stay in your lane, better connection happens I know staying silent isn’t cool but just a thought”. I don’t read poetry often..., but this book called to me to read. The themes are contemporary - about ‘women’. “At any given moment there is someone getting what they always wanted”. “Look, you are so beautiful”.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Wow. I enjoyed this book of poems more and more as I went. I chose this book to review because I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone. I've been saying to myself these past couple of years that I want to read some poetry, but I never do. Part of my apprehension about picking up some poetry is that I don't really know how to read it. The last time I made an attempt was in AP English in high school (20 years ago!). The more I read, the more those apprehensions slipped away. I think this book of Wow. I enjoyed this book of poems more and more as I went. I chose this book to review because I wanted to go outside of my comfort zone. I've been saying to myself these past couple of years that I want to read some poetry, but I never do. Part of my apprehension about picking up some poetry is that I don't really know how to read it. The last time I made an attempt was in AP English in high school (20 years ago!). The more I read, the more those apprehensions slipped away. I think this book of poems is geared towards someone near my age and stage in life. There are poems of singledom, then marriage and finally, motherhood. The poems that stuck out to me the most were: Back To School Shopping Stronger Than You Know What Mothers Say For My Daughter on a Bad Day Kate Baer did a great job of weaving her way through the nuance of what it takes to be a mother in today's crazy world. If you are looking at this genre and aren't sure what to pick, I think this would make a great choice for you to get your feet wet. Thank you so much to Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review! Review Date: 11/11/2020 Publication Date: 11/10/2020

  4. 4 out of 5

    Skyler Autumn

    2 Stars Granted I'm not a big poet-head. Which is just now a term I made up to describe poetry readers but this missed the mark for me. There are maybe 4 poems in this collection that are interesting, beautiful, worthy of dissecting, discussing and perhaps even of being put on my skin permanently with a flower or turtle dove encircling it but the rest of this collection was filler. I'm sorry but lets be real there was a "poem" (I'm putting it in brackets cause calling it poetry is a stretch) whe 2 Stars Granted I'm not a big poet-head. Which is just now a term I made up to describe poetry readers but this missed the mark for me. There are maybe 4 poems in this collection that are interesting, beautiful, worthy of dissecting, discussing and perhaps even of being put on my skin permanently with a flower or turtle dove encircling it but the rest of this collection was filler. I'm sorry but lets be real there was a "poem" (I'm putting it in brackets cause calling it poetry is a stretch) where she just lists people in her life with the word masked in front of them; Masked Mother, Masked Lover. Come on, that is the poetic equivalent of putting a big dot in the middle of a canvas and calling it abstract art. I call bullshit poetry! BULLSHIT! Honestly we are starting to get real loosey goosey with what we are qualify as poetry these days like I said I am not a poet-head but even I know Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath would be pretty surprised with who they are now sharing this genre with. Don't fight me on this comment section, I'm pretty locked into this opinion and I am not afraid to die on this hill. This book is not worth the hype.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    "You can be a mother and a poet. A wife and a lover. You can dance on the graves you dug on Tuesday, pulling out the bones of yourself you began to miss." Once in a while, a book shows up on your doorstep & for millions of reasons that add up to you choosing to read it as soon as you rip off the wrapping-you sit down and begin reading. I sat down this afternoon and began reading What Kind of Woman and couldn't put it down. As a Woman, A Wife, A Mother- I felt so seen, so understood and received t "You can be a mother and a poet. A wife and a lover. You can dance on the graves you dug on Tuesday, pulling out the bones of yourself you began to miss." Once in a while, a book shows up on your doorstep & for millions of reasons that add up to you choosing to read it as soon as you rip off the wrapping-you sit down and begin reading. I sat down this afternoon and began reading What Kind of Woman and couldn't put it down. As a Woman, A Wife, A Mother- I felt so seen, so understood and received that overwhelming but refreshing confirmation that I'm not at this journey alone. I am a lover of poetry. To my soul, it is one of my favorite things to read, but I get it.. a lot of what comes out nowadays can be so difficult to understand and can feel unreadable. Kate sticks to the basics. She magically takes ordinary words, throws them all together to create these beautiful sentences that in the end paint a beautiful real life scenario that you completely see or have seen yourself in before. We need more f*cking honesty about how tough Motherhood can be. How tough Womanhood can be. How tough married life can be. It isn't all fairy tales and happy endings: "When I took you as a husband I did not know the deaths our love would suffer. I did not know the grave of loneliness." Kate writes this in Curveball and ends the passage with, "even in our darkest hours, I still wait for the sound of your feet at the door." Curveball is followed by the poem For the Advice Cards at Bridal Showers which at its core is all about time revealing loves complications but shines the light on something I think we as women tend to do; holding out hope and staying positive, "For now just remember how you felt the day you were born: desperate for magic, ready to love." Her poems on Motherhood, oh my goodness, "Experience will teach you two things: you are the mother, and it's okay to let them go up the slide." The everyday activities that also resort in a lot of anxiety, like park visits, "I am aware of dogs at the park. I am aware of men too." "Maybe he is just a man walking or maybe he is searching for a bird to break." I think every woman should at some point read her poem, Robyn Hood which is all about us thinking about what we could do, could've done if we were able to steal all of the time back that we spent comparing ourselves to someone else and the power of assurance. I am going to reread Things My Girlfriends Teach Me everyday and meditate on this passage from To Take Back A Life, "Pick up your heavy burdens and leave them at the gate. I will hold the door for you." This is an absolute amazing collection. I hope that it finds you at the right time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    Thank you Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read this collection! It is not often when you come across a collection of poems that just speak to you. What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer is a collection of poems broken up into three parts. Part one is being a woman. Part two is being a wife. Part three is being a mother. While these poems really speak to women, they are for everyone. It can be an experience in the minds of women. I would read a few poems every day and would end up thinking about t Thank you Harper Perennial for the opportunity to read this collection! It is not often when you come across a collection of poems that just speak to you. What Kind of Woman by Kate Baer is a collection of poems broken up into three parts. Part one is being a woman. Part two is being a wife. Part three is being a mother. While these poems really speak to women, they are for everyone. It can be an experience in the minds of women. I would read a few poems every day and would end up thinking about them until I read more the next day. This is one of those collections that will stay with you. In part one, one of the favorites is: Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels “have you ever tasted the cool swill of freedom? The consuming rush of a quiet, radical love…” NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS My favorite from the second part is: For The Advice Cards At Bridal Showers “This is not a happy ending. This is not a fairy tale. This is the beginning of a life you haven’t met.” FOR THE ADVICE CARDS AT BRIDAL SHOWERS And finally, in the third part: Transfiguration “I dreamt myself into a mother, but when I became her, I had to dream her back into a woman” TRANSFIGURATION This collection gets all the stars. I couldn’t recommend it enough!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Abbie | nerdyabbie

    *shrugs* This just wasn't my cuppa tea. Listen. I can see why some people would like her poetry, I do. But this just wasn't my cup of tea. As always with poetry, it was a mixed bag for me. The only thing I really enjoyed was her poems about motherhood. Those were genuinely beautiful, and one of the reasons I gave this book more than one star. But her views on life and marriage were mega-depressing. I came to this volume of poetry looking for empowerment, and all I got was "Say Something" by A Gre *shrugs* This just wasn't my cuppa tea. Listen. I can see why some people would like her poetry, I do. But this just wasn't my cup of tea. As always with poetry, it was a mixed bag for me. The only thing I really enjoyed was her poems about motherhood. Those were genuinely beautiful, and one of the reasons I gave this book more than one star. But her views on life and marriage were mega-depressing. I came to this volume of poetry looking for empowerment, and all I got was "Say Something" by A Great Big World. I also wish I had been trigger warned beforehand. All in all, it was okay, but it didn't meet me at this stage in my life, and I left the book just feeling sad. Overall: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Writing Quality: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ Enjoyment Level: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    I feel seen. She put words to things I didn’t think could ever be expressed. “To unclasp the thought of leaving, tie it to the door. To run into the gaping mouth of change and know it’s suffering. To find the ones who say, I am not afraid of sitting in the dark with you.” Witchcraft. Thank you, Kate.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy Pretty

    This review is based on an advanced copy I got when I won the Goodreads giveaway. I first discovered Kate’s poetry when a friend tagged me in one of her posts on instagram. I was blown away at the simplicity of so few words capturing such complex and raw parts of womanhood and motherhood. In this book, while every poem evokes clear images and emotions, a few stood out to me as almost mantras for our time. Robyn Hood makes me weep: it wonders aloud about the time we have wasted worrying about how This review is based on an advanced copy I got when I won the Goodreads giveaway. I first discovered Kate’s poetry when a friend tagged me in one of her posts on instagram. I was blown away at the simplicity of so few words capturing such complex and raw parts of womanhood and motherhood. In this book, while every poem evokes clear images and emotions, a few stood out to me as almost mantras for our time. Robyn Hood makes me weep: it wonders aloud about the time we have wasted worrying about how fat or thin we are, constantly thinking about our bodies, and what we could have done with that time if we hadn’t done that? It’s like a blinding light to read it - almost too much painful truth to absorb. This book also has some particularly poignant poems on marriage. Curveball stood out as a favorite. “That even in our darkest hours, I still wait for the sound of your feet at the door.” I mean - that single line nails it. Finally, Fresh Lemonade is a poem I will read 9000 times and get something new each time I read it. It’s about gender roles, expectations, hunger, anger. I plan to give a copy of this book to every woman and mother I love at the holidays and hope that they keep it at their bedside like a rosary they can touch and get strength from. Something they can read again and again and feel...seen. Kate Baer is the best thing I have stumbled upon in a long time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I think women who have been divorced and/or have very young children will connect more with these poems.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Goodfellow

    ⭐4 Stars⭐ This book of poetry describes the soul of a woman, the want, the need and the desire for more that you can have. It provokes a discussion of internalised misogyny, motherhood- its gains and losses and also the hardships that many face when shown the reality of their body. Weep with it, this is a collection that is as accessible as it is well-conceived. Trigger Warnings: Eating Disorders, Body Shaming, Sexual Assault, Misogyny, Death, Pregnancy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brittney

    Old favorite (and very favorite): Deleted Sentences. New favorite: Motherload. Section III is it for me. She just gets it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Watts

    “For now just remember: birds sing, babies cry, and no matter the weather, every morning is new.” - For the Advice Cards at Baby Showers “Pick up your heavy burdens and leave them at the gate. I will hold the door for you.” - To Take Back a Life I haven’t read poetry in a long time and am far from an expert, but this collection of poems is stunning. For me, the poems about motherhood especially were incredibly moving, heartbreaking and true. I inhaled it in a sitting, but will be flipping through it “For now just remember: birds sing, babies cry, and no matter the weather, every morning is new.” - For the Advice Cards at Baby Showers “Pick up your heavy burdens and leave them at the gate. I will hold the door for you.” - To Take Back a Life I haven’t read poetry in a long time and am far from an expert, but this collection of poems is stunning. For me, the poems about motherhood especially were incredibly moving, heartbreaking and true. I inhaled it in a sitting, but will be flipping through it and referencing it for a long time to come. What a gift.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Viklund

    Spectacular. The words I never knew I knew, beautifully strewn together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)

    brilliant and beautiful. I felt every word. I normally do not gravitate towards poetry as I feel it often goes over my head. but I could read this one over and over. thank you Harper Books for gifting me a copy for my honest review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    HWC

    Marriage, womanhood, motherhood - all their pains & joys so beautifully encapsulated in these poems. I’ll be mulling over these & coming back for re-reads!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Wow, wow, wow. This just filled my cup in a way I didn’t know I needed. I will be reaching for this book like a warm blanket for the end of time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julia Frampton

    I liked this collection of poetry! The author is excessively talented. It just didn’t meet me where I’m at in this current stage of life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

    I will admit, sometimes poetry goes over my head. And sometimes, like now, it knocks me off my feet. Kate Baer's words are raw, tender, pulsing with life. I dare you to read this and not have to catch your breath when you find yourself in her words. I will admit, sometimes poetry goes over my head. And sometimes, like now, it knocks me off my feet. Kate Baer's words are raw, tender, pulsing with life. I dare you to read this and not have to catch your breath when you find yourself in her words.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Zara

    Oh, Kate. How do you just know?

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marti M

    Thank you to Harper Perennial for sending me an advanced copy of this poetry book to review. All opinions are my own. This book releases November 10, 2020. Holy cow. Now this is the kind of poetry I loooooove. Feminist? Yup. Calling out men’s bullshit? Yup. Talking about the not so sunshiney aspects of motherhood and marriage? Yup. Written in a way that will punch you right in the feels? Double yup. I’m definitely going to scour her backlist and keep an eye out on anything she puts out in the fu Thank you to Harper Perennial for sending me an advanced copy of this poetry book to review. All opinions are my own. This book releases November 10, 2020. Holy cow. Now this is the kind of poetry I loooooove. Feminist? Yup. Calling out men’s bullshit? Yup. Talking about the not so sunshiney aspects of motherhood and marriage? Yup. Written in a way that will punch you right in the feels? Double yup. I’m definitely going to scour her backlist and keep an eye out on anything she puts out in the future because I can tell that her poetry is right up my alley and I will most likely inhale everything else she writes too. The only downside is that with any poetry collection, some are stronger than others. But don’t let that deter you, if you love poetry I would HIGHLY recommend this one. Plus look at that gorgeous cover!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erienne Jones

    **I’ve now read this book of poems twice and listened to it an additional time. I can’t recommend it enough. Kate Baer’s poetry has changed me. It gives me courage to be a mother, a wife, and to write my own poetry. Her words are like a song I have always known but never been able to sing. Highly, highly recommend. This beautiful book of poems has three sections: poems to a past self, on being a wife, and motherhood. Thanks to Netgalley and Kate Baer for providing me this advance copy.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    This collection is short but striking. And very sensual. Many thanks to Kate Baer and NetGalley for providing the ARC in exchange for my honest review. WHAT KIND OF WOMAN will be published on November 10, 2020!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lily Herman

    I've been wanting to read more poetry for a while, so given my propensity for writing, talking, and thinking about feminism and the ever-shifting narratives around womanhood, I thought Kate Baer's What Kind of Woman would be a perfect place to start. Like most books that feature a ton of different shorter works, some poems in here are stronger than others, but when Baer's words hit, they really smack you straight in the psyche. In particular, she had several poems about misogyny, marriage, and pa I've been wanting to read more poetry for a while, so given my propensity for writing, talking, and thinking about feminism and the ever-shifting narratives around womanhood, I thought Kate Baer's What Kind of Woman would be a perfect place to start. Like most books that feature a ton of different shorter works, some poems in here are stronger than others, but when Baer's words hit, they really smack you straight in the psyche. In particular, she had several poems about misogyny, marriage, and parenthood (specifically parenting girls) that were especially hard-hitting and that I'm still sitting with a while later. Content warning: Sexual assault, misogyny, eating disorders, body image issues, pregnancy difficulties

  25. 4 out of 5

    Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I'm not sure what I don't love about this other than that it just isn't my particular brand of poetry. It's not inherently bad but the style isn't for me and most of it is a little too on the nose for me. There were a handful that were fantastic but most of them were just so-so. I think it is probably the structure of the poems themselves that I found off-putting. TW for this book include: rape, drugging, implied gun violence including school shootings, chil (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) I'm not sure what I don't love about this other than that it just isn't my particular brand of poetry. It's not inherently bad but the style isn't for me and most of it is a little too on the nose for me. There were a handful that were fantastic but most of them were just so-so. I think it is probably the structure of the poems themselves that I found off-putting. TW for this book include: rape, drugging, implied gun violence including school shootings, child death

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natasha | readalongwithnat

    I received a free copy from Harper Perennial in exchange for my honest review. CW: sexual assault, gun violence, body image This is a short, but powerful collection of poems. I marked quite a few poems in my book, especially in part 1. This is Baer's first collection and I sure hope it won't be her last. Plus, who can say no to the beautiful cover on this one?? I received a free copy from Harper Perennial in exchange for my honest review. CW: sexual assault, gun violence, body image This is a short, but powerful collection of poems. I marked quite a few poems in my book, especially in part 1. This is Baer's first collection and I sure hope it won't be her last. Plus, who can say no to the beautiful cover on this one??

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany Ruddle

    My goodness was this fantastic!! I don’t even want to try to use words to describe how beautiful and painful and hopeful and raw this collection was because nobody’s words can compare to Baer’s own. Her perfect capture of the anxiety of motherhood was a particular highlight for me, but every section was brilliant. I finished this feeling seen and articulated and assured. Every page was a gut punch in the best way, and I am excited to read these poems again and again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Texted a friend and said “just finished reading WKOW and am sobbing. Going to read it again every day for the rest of my life.” This collection is full of words—words that bring you to yourself, that touch the raw places, that give voice to the secrets you hold in your body. Grateful.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Ayim

    fast flying debut♥

  30. 5 out of 5

    Melody Warnick

    Read this lush book of poetry, all you women/mothers/humans with emotions.

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