Writer publishes new poetry collection, ‘Goodbye Toothless House’

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published March 8, 2019

 Grosse Pointe City writer Kelly Fordon, pictured at Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries in Grosse Pointe Farms, holds her latest book, “Goodbye Toothless House.”

Grosse Pointe City writer Kelly Fordon, pictured at Morning Glory Coffee and Pastries in Grosse Pointe Farms, holds her latest book, “Goodbye Toothless House.”

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

CITY — In “Goodbye Toothless House,” her first full-length collection of poetry, Kelly Fordon explores the deceptively serene territory of modern suburbia and exposes dark, sometimes bitter undercurrents.

For the mom and longtime Grosse Pointe City resident, it’s a place she knows well. 

“It’s inspired by domestic situations and women’s issues and the complexity of modern family life — the good and the bad,” Fordon explained.

Fordon will participate in a Poets and Pies reading at 6 p.m. April 2 in the Friends Conference Room of the Main Branch of the Detroit Public Library, 5201 Woodward Ave. in midtown. Fordon will also be joined by John Freeman, Zilka Joseph, Michael Lauchlan and Dorene O’Brien for a reading April 18 at Pages Bookshop in Detroit, although a time had not been announced at press time; see www.pagesbkshop.com for more information.

Fordon, whose work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Rattle and other journals, is also the author of “Garden for the Blind,” a novel-in-stories that was selected as a Michigan Notable Book, a Midwest Book Award finalist and an Indiefab finalist. 

Her most recent chapbook, “The Witness,” won the 2016 Eric Hoffer Award for the chapbook category and was shortlisted for the Grand Prize. “On the Street Where We Live,” a one-act play adapted from her poetry chapbook of the same name, was picked for the 2018 Dream Up Festival in New York. Fordon teaches creative writing at the College for Creative Studies, Springfed Arts and the Detroit youth writing program, InsideOut Literary Arts.

“Goodbye Toothless House” grew out of Fordon’s poetry chapbook, “On the Street Where We Live,” which won the 2012 Standing Rock Chapbook Contest. That book was inspired by meeting other moms of young children and feeling sequestered at home, Fordon said. Some of the poems from “Street” ended up in “Goodbye Toothless House.”

“This full-length collection has more years of reflection and life experience because more time has gone by,” Fordon said.

Fellow writers are acknowledging the power in these poems, which Faith Shearin, author of “Orpheus, Turning,” wrote are “honest, attentive and resonant.”

“With words as effective and as cunningly crafted as newly sharpened knives, a relentless insistence, and stunning wordplay, Fordon gives voice to those trapped behind the idyllic façade,” wrote Gloria Whelan, of Grosse Pointe Woods — author of National Book Award-winner “Homeless Bird” — in a blurb for “Toothless House.”

Fordon is a wife and mother to four children, ages 16 to 24.

“I write a lot about the sacrifices (of motherhood), but it’s totally worth it — I love my kids,” she said. “But, I think … we could still make more advances in terms of making (the distribution of child care and housework) more equitable.”

Fordon has a background in journalism and has written fiction and nonfiction. She said she appreciates the open-ended nature of poetry.

“It’s more about questioning than answers,” Fordon said. “It’s more about what you’re feeling in the moment. You don’t have to wrap it up in a bow.”

“Goodbye Toothless House” was published in February by Kattywompus Press. For more information about Fordon, visit her website, www.kellyfordon.com.