top of page
Boat Burned by Kelly Grace Thomas (Digital)

Cover Art: Lara Zankoul

Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer

January 7, 2020, ISBN 978-1-936919-72-7




Don’t worry.
Your mother will always live
inside the house you built
for her. A sailboat can only wait
so long for wind. When you run
aground the buoys nod a quiet
I know. Omid loves you.
Anchor the children close.
At sunrise you write
about the morning after
your sister almost died.
Then your mother.
The many ways the sea tries
to take. They say tell me
a story and you never know
the right way to spill.
This is the one where you
and your father tied
yourselves to dark. Sailed
all night to make it
to Florida. Holding only a memory
of sleep. This was the biggest
goodbye. Your legs still
rock. Now in the mornings
you look at clouds you named
together. How each of you
chose your shape.


About Kelly Grace Thomas


KELLY GRACE THOMAS is the winner of the 2017 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle and a 2018 finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award. Her first full-length collection, Boat Burned, released with YesYes Books in January 2020. Kelly’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Best New Poets 2019, Los Angeles Review, Redivider, Nashville Review, Muzzle, DIAGRAM, and more. Kelly currently works to bring poetry to underserved youth as the Director of Education and Pedagogy for Get Lit-Words Ignite. Kelly is a three-time poetry slam championship coach and the co-author of Words Ignite: Explore, Write and Perform, Classic and Spoken Word Poetry (Literary Riot), currently taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Kelly has received fellowships from Tin House Winter Workshop, Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and the Kenyon Review Young Writers. Kelly and her sister, Kat Thomas, won Best Feature Length Screenplay at the Portland Comedy Film Festival for their romantic comedy, Magic Little Pills. Kelly lives in the Bay Area with her husband, Omid, and is currently working on her debut novel, a YA thriller, titled Only 10.001.

Boat Burned by Kelly Grace Thomas (Digital)

SKU: 0300049
  • About Boat Burned

    Kelly Grace Thomas’s debut collection, Boat Burned, explores what happens when we burn our boats and shows us why we must. It examines the relationships women are forced to vessel: to family, to faith, to femininity. The collection interrogates the ways we are taught to be women, recounts what the body carries, asks what happens when we outgrow the love and loyalties we are raised to obey. Boat Burned delves into themes of hunger, divorce, violence, and our relationship to our own bodies, as it reminds us we are every boat we have lived and every boat we have set ablaze in order to build anew.

    Check out the reviews in Rhino and Cultural Weekly!

  • Praise for Boat Burned

    At the same time expansive and intimate, Kelly Grace Thomas’s debut collection navigates issues of loss, family, and agency. Boat Burned invites us to witness the pains and subsequent joys of rebirth—"The boats that built me / smoke on shore.” Thomas’s voice shines like a lighthouse beacon—guiding us through the difficult memories and toward the future’s open waters.

    -Paige Lewis, author of Space Struck


    "History is a dirty / ocean. And I am dangerous / with thirst," says luminous poet Kelly Grace Thomas, in her spellbinding Boat Burned. The gorgeous poems that populate this powerful collection "rise // fully formed from sea." These are elegant, crisp, clear, and potent poems that tackle such issues as impossible beauty standards, eating disorders, racist attitudes in the U.S., divorce, and family trauma, all while binding a thickly knotted rope of love between the speaker and her family, the speaker and the world around her.

    –Jennifer Givhan, author of Rosa’s Einstein


    In this remarkable inaugural collection, Kelly Grace Thomas reminds us water is where we are from, water is what we are made of, and water is where we’ll return. These formally dexterous poems invite the reader to consider how the craft of a poem is a physical object that helps keep us afloat. Boat Burned interrogates the moment where the embodied spirit butts up against the strictures and violence of an impossible world. This is an urgent new collection from an urgent new voice.

    -sam sax, author of Bury It


    A "tendertangle," a lush portmanteau, is how I drank and devoured the water-drenched poems of Kelly Grace Thomas's Boat Burned. This mercy-hearted work shows great concern and empathy for the twisted mess and mass of bodies—bodies as boats, bodies burning, body as a window, the lover’s body, and the parental body as a woven elegy and ode. This gorgeous debut is a sustained symphonic metaphor on what we carry in our vessels, all the damage and joy (inherited and otherwise) sailing and sinking and singing through magnificent verse. Thomas is a master of intense precision of feeling. The diction is hungry and barking "for anything to love us back." I am beyond excited for this brilliant and beautiful collection.

    -Tiana Clark, author of I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood

YesYes Books
bottom of page