Early Cuts

Purchase via Kelsay Books.
Purchase via Amazon.

Lage's debut poetry book Early Cuts was published with Kelsay Books in May 2023. Upon release, Early Cuts ranked #126 in Poetry by Women on Amazon.

If you're interested in purchasing a signed copy, please fill out this site's contact form. You will need to purchase signed copies directly from Lage.


Lage’s debut poetry collection, Early Cuts, explores what can cut a human, metaphorically, past the physical, throughout life’s stages. This story explores complex emotions under sections titled, “The Cut,” “The Healing,” “The Infection,” and “The Scar.”

“The Cut” breaks open the floodgates of mental and emotional pain. “The Healing” delves into love and mental health. “The Infection” tours mistakes as well as the nonlinear process of healing. “The Scar” ponders what humans are left with when our journey on this earth is complete.


What Blurbers Say About Early Cuts:

In the opening poem of Early Cuts, Lage writes, "I want sunlight to have the same posture it did in my youth." For sunlight to have a posture, it must have a body; to have a body, the sun, like all of us, must then find itself in a continual state of healing. Even though the collection's sections suggest a linear path to recovery ("The Cut," "The Infection," The Healing," and, eventually, "The Scar"), Lage resists the tempting belief that health is anything but transitory. She writes, "[The sun] recites a list of where all your scars came from." Early Cuts is not afraid to lean into the frustrations and triumphs of existing in a cyclical process of wellness and unwellness: to live in sunlight then shadow, to hurt then heal, and back again. 

- Emily Paige Wilson, author of Hypochondria, Least Powerful of the Greek Gods

Lage’s book is a remarkable, intimate look into a young, rural Iowan woman’s life. While reading it, I saw these poems as patches in a quilt, telling the story of growing up intertwined with what she sees now looking back. This collection covers so much from family, nature, and death, to life, loss, and love. Lage does not shy away from the shadows, saying “I shed the parts of myself that daylight cannot handle,” but there is also abundant, wise light in this book. She writes so fondly to her lover, “we are creation / sauntering into this world… my favorite part is / we are the only ones who know.” Lyrical, haunting, and beautiful, this poetry collection is a must for poetry lovers.

-Aura Martin, author of Butterflies Over Flame 

Lage’s Early Cuts masterfully handles the art of  juxtaposition in both structure and within individual poems. “In the end, the ashes will be on display / at the local museum next to an all-American diner,” Lage writes in “Jump in the Fire.” Placing the haunting and the appealing side-by-side where “[n]ice is made up of clenched teeth” (“Someone Else’s Dress”) Lage reveals a complex coexistence between hurting and healing.

 - Elizabeth Bates, Author of Mosaics & Mirages


By A.R. Arthur, Published by Full House Literary

Other Fun Things!

Add Early Cuts to your Goodreads Bookshelf

Spotify Playlist Inspired by Early Cuts, Curated by Kelli Lage

Moodboards Inspired by Early Cuts, Curated by Kelli Lage

© Kelli Lage. Design by Saroya.