American Wake (Paperback)
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How many other poets make metaphors as multifaceted, as capacious? Taking its title from the Irish concept of a vigil “for the living, the leaving” — those setting off for better fortunes in America — McCadden uses colloquial and inventive forms to probe delicate familial webs, ancestral stories, her relationship with her beloved drug-addled brother, questions of home.— Ben
"The poems, plainspoken distillations of origins and loss, explore histories, teasing at what we know without knowing, and know without remembering we know. A book of quiet, watchful radiance."--The Boston Globe"Must-read poetry."--The Millions New from a poet whose astonishing images, emotional honesty, and storytelling power hold a singular clarity of vision. "American Wake navigates loss with such unparalleled sensitivity and inventiveness that language becomes its own jubilant force of survival."--Major Jackson An "American wake" is what the Irish call a farewell to those emigrating to the United States. A New England poet equally at home in Ireland, Kerrin McCadden explores family, death and grief, apologies, and all manner of departures. In the poem "In the Harbor," McCadden writes: When we are out to sea, we look back to see faces
ringing the shore like a fence, those we love in up
to their hips in waves, waving goodbye like mad. Included in American Wake are the poems, "My Broken Family," "Weeks After My Brother Overdoses," "One Way to Apologize to a Daughter for Careless Words," "Portrait of the Family as a Definition," and "My Mother Talks to Her Son about Her Heart." This collection by a writer of extraordinary gifts will appeal to readers who believe in the potential of carefully hewn words to unveil our world and our deepest feelings to ourselves. As the acclaimed memoirist Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City) puts it: "Kerrin McCadden transforms tragedy into myth."