All Its Charms

All Its Charms is a fearless and transformative reckoning of identity. By turns tender and raw, these poems chronicle Kuipers’ decision to become a single mother by choice, her marriage to the woman she first fell in love with more than a decade before giving birth to her daughter, and her family’s struggle to bring another child into their lives. All Its Charms is about much more than the reinvention of the American family―it’s about transformation, desire, and who we can become when we move past who we thought we would be.

** Finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award ** Reviews and ‘Best Of’ in Publishers Weekly, Los Angeles Review of Books, Bustle and more! **

BUY NOW Download the Reader’s Guide

Keetje Kuipers’ ALL ITS CHARMS is one of the finest books of poetry I know. It springs from the land of the American West like a cottonwood tree or a pronghorn calf and shimmers before us. Her exquisite ear makes each poem strike notes of delight that surprise, and her voice beguiles whether speaking to an invisible unbegotten girl, or seeing ‘the nasturtiums sweating on the vine,’ or hearing a father’s ‘tin pan trembling heart.’ Over and over again the poet sings and causes some bristling elegant new thing to appear before us. It is that ancient impossible magic that charms water from stones and makes art endure. Here is a perfect book of poems.

Steve Scafidi

Keetje Kuipers’ luminous new collection more than fulfills its title’s promise. Kuipers works powerful lyric magic, transforming bodies―human and animal, living and dead―into rivers, trees, molten glass, angels, ‘a cup of coldening cider.’ Landscapes too undergo metamorphoses, ‘the sidewalk grows a golden fur’; ‘magnolias collapse their heavy bosoms.’ Time itself comes alive, ‘the last fleshy hours of another day ripening…’ In voluptuous detail, Kuipers describes her own pregnancy and motherhood. Her breastmilk is ‘ a sticky flower blooming,’ a nursing bra ‘flapping and fearless, one wing taking flight…’ Even when she’s describing death, her images delight, maggots are ‘glossy’ a sparrow’s heart ‘a jewel hidden in haste.’ An awareness of life’s fragility, of the passage of time, runs through these poems, yet the reader feels the pulse of life’s robust insistence. ALL ITS CHARMS is a book of ‘plentitude, mass, sweetness contained.'

Ellen Bass

In ALL ITS CHARMS, the third volume from this remarkable poet, we enter with serious pleasure into an unfolding tapestry of resourceful and intelligent figuration, her gorgeous language tying together elements of the natural world with the glorious ether of the metaphysical. Connecting body to landscape, seaspawn and seawrack to striations of the uterus, baby to the blossom of milk from her breast, Kuipers is a Lucretius of motherhood and sexuality, seeking consolation not for the limit of death, but from the trials of incarnation, tasting their splendor on skin and tangles of hair emanating from love’s body. Her poetry is a garland of milk petalled down her shirtfront, the page of life she’s written on the body. She makes me feel... She makes me feel like a natural woman.

Garrett Hongo

I exited ALL ITS CHARMS begrudgingly, so charmed was I by the world inside its pages. Keetje Kuipers delights in the usually overlooked moments in nature and human nature―the small town drag show, the clear cut landscape with ‘yellow Cat dozers popping up on distant hillsides / like morels to be collected after the first warm days,’ the daughter's spilled juice the speaker wipes with ‘the old plaid boxers of the man I thought I'd marry.’ In these small moments, she locates our big truths. Her vision is original, and her voice―precise, questioning, sensual, wry―is one I'd follow anywhere. This book is a delicious accomplishment.

Beth Ann Fennelly

Keetje Kuipers’ collection charms not with flattery, but more like a good friend who cares enough to tell the hand-to-God truth to your face. This flint-eyed but tender honesty comes across in Kuipers’ minute observations of the American landscape as well as of the pleasures and disappointments of the body. The poems in ALL ITS CHARMS are also bracingly candid about the polarities of parenthood: the movement between joy at new life and fear at the army of small, lurking dangers that threaten it. The language and images may be startling in these pages, but the insights are austere and lay bare a necessary corner of the human world.

Iain Haley Pollock

In Keetje Kuipers’s candid, funny, achingly wistful third collection from BOA, Kuipers’s poems unearth a kind of magic hidden in the spaces we dwell in, from our homes to our towns, to our nation itself... Though the politics of these poems are rarely, if ever, explicit, Kuipers’s examination of the tenuousness of the past and the uncertainty of the future is timely in the MAGA era, which calls for an erasure of our nation’s historical offenses in exchange for the privileges the historically privileged fear they may lose. The poems of ALL ITS CHARMS press us into considering how our interior lives (both the self and the home) are shaped by the country they exist within, how our bodies may be countries all their own, and like this country, hold transgressions and mercies and wonders of many kinds.

The Kenyon Review

The poetry in ALL ITS CHARMS vibrates with energy like a newly enchanted thing and chants celebration and caution all at once. Through both witness and creation, Kuipers creates an impossible space to live in this world.

The Bind

This third collection from Kuipers opens with an articulate longing: “Every birth—even the wings/ of the caddis lifting from the river// is a shroud—a momentary hunger.” The speaker’s desire to bear a child entwines with the landscape of her abandoned home, a gorgeously described panorama of accidental and intentional death, from a father’s annual hunting slaughter, to children who play kick the can with roadkill... A story of birth and rebirth is not a new story, nor is it always charming. That, perhaps, is its biggest charm.

Publishers Weekly

The book centers on a few key events in Kuipers’s life—her decision to become a single mother, her marriage to a woman she loved years before—but those are like a prism the poems radiate from, so the book becomes not only about birth and living and loving, but also about death and time and loss... What fuses this together is Kuipers’s precise voice, ever-light in its touch and resoundingly constant. The book contains only 52 poems and they rarely reach a page’s bottom, yet each is so lapidary that when you read them together, you feel as if you’ve been moved through a life.

Seattle Met

Kuipers crafts a meditation on the blurred boundaries between our bodies and the natural world, suggesting the ways in which bodies become earth, while earth forms a body of its own... Love of self and love of the earth are deeply imbricated with love for another, Kuipers suggests, all united by a careful attention to the realities of embodiment. It is, in part, this focus on embodiment that brings us some of the most moving and striking poetry in the collection. In her consideration of what it means to raise one child while still desiring another child, Kuipers makes a stunning contribution to writing on motherhood. Here she asks: how are children our legacy — and how can we leave other kinds of legacy in lieu of children?

Los Angeles Review of Books

You’ll love the way she moves, line to leaping line; this works because of a high skill level — never once does she fall. The stories are about being a single mom, pregnancy, motherhood, same-sex marriage to a former lover — just for starters. I never knew a child spilling orange juice in a poem could lead to such a splendid sequence of thoughts. That’s the way she is, and what this poet’s capable of. There’s no end goal in Kuipers’ poetry. She begins, and lets it unfold like silk rippling down the page. There are tough subjects beautifully portrayed. How could we ask for more?

Washington Independent Review of Books

I find something new to love every time I open this book. “All Its Charms” is a collection of poems from a wonderful poet at the height of her powers. It is a book to be read in a sitting, then revisited, again and again, slowly, and savored.

The Missoulian

These poems are phenomenological rather than teleological, which is to say, they are about the uncertain world of experience, not the story of how we got to where we are.


The brilliant lightness-in-shadow elements of these poems are found in the finely etched details of a fully lived life—one that pays deep and unsentimental attention to place.

The Rumpus


Website design by Josh McCall.

Headshots by Fiona Margo.

Book cover image, “Calla Lily, ‘Sunshine,'” by William Rugen.

Book cover design by Sandy Knight.