"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."