A Tale of Magicians…

Bio: Kaia Sand is the the author of Remember to Wave (Tinfish Press 2010), and interval (Edge Books 2004), a Small Press Traffic Book of the Year, and she co-authored Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry and Public Space (Palm Press 2008) with Jules Boykoff. She documents her investigative poetry projects and installations at http://kaiasand.net/

A Tale of Magicians...
A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost its Puff
by Kaia Sand. 100pp, $18. (The first 60 orders will get a limited edition copy of the book)
Designed by Jeff Sanner. ISBN 978-0-9891861-8-6

For over a decade now, Kaia Sand has been making magic with her ethical documentary poetry and prose around our globe’s fragile ecology, economies and sites of resistance. In her first Tinfish Press book, Remember to Wave, published in 2010, she wrote about the secret histories of north Portland, Oregon where Japanese Americans were warehoused before they were sent inland to be interned, and where African American workers were squeezed into housing built on a flood plain. Her work is radically interdisciplinary, encompassing collage, the craft of sewing and metal work, and (in A Tale of Magicians That Puffed Up Money Until It Lost Its Puff) a magic show that explains the 2008 crash to children young and old. This combination of serious whimsy characterizes Sand’s work and is unique in contemporary American poetry.



Beware the fury

Beware the fury of the financier

rote fury, puffy money, bankers who bank

on diverted attention. Divested

power. I attend to a kestrel

showing its shadow to the morning floor.

My neighbor’s crusy music. My daughter’s

passing four stories below. Power.

This is a sentence about synthetic

collaterized debt obligations:

a bit of what gets lost in the paper

shuffle of profit. Doorway to a shelter.

Roof sloped to slide rain. Bankers, bilking

aplenty—I’m riveting my attention now.



In August 1940 when speaking of the pilots in the Royal Air Force who died preventing the German Luftwaffe from bombing Great Britain into surrender, Winston Churchill said: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” We might say about Wall Street Bankers who brought on the Great Financial Crisis of 2008: “Never was so much damage done to so many by so few.” In her collection of poems A Tale of Magicians Who Puffed Up Money that Lost Its Puff poet Kaia Sand holds up a mirror for us to see the many faces of humanity – financial destroyer, environment protector, nuclear power resister, future economy creator — as only a poet can. Captivating literature and insightful politics are each hard to come by. Finding both in the same place is a rare jewel to be treasured and enjoyed.

—Robin Hahnel, Economist and author of Economic Justice and Democracy: From Competition to Cooperation (Routledge 2005) and Of the People, By the People: The Case for a Participatory Economy (AK Press, 2012).


Some of us inhale what others exhale. Kaia Sand’s book reminds us of this simple fact. In this, a metaphor about love, daily life, community and power unfolds. These poems provide a tremendous answer to the question of what it means to be a poet who is deeply aware of those who live down river and down wind from power’s malice. Deeply beautiful and tough, this is a book that is not only conscious of itself and of the world, it actually invites the reader to partake in this consciousness. It will make us meander into wakefulness.

—Maged Zaher, Author of The Revolution Happened and You Didn’t Call Me


Kaia Sand’s work always interests me: her inventories, interventions, recordings, dispatches, her mixing memos into songs, her soundings and measurements and exposés. These are lived poems, necessary and urgent and I learn from them. She is to be honored, read, shared, and given our undivided attention.

—Carolyn Forché, Author Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004) Editor, Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (W. W. Norton, 1993).