How to Love the Empty Air
New York Times bestselling nonfiction writer and poet Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz's How to Love the Empty Air reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry. Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real―for better and for worse. Aptowicz's journey to find happiness and home in her ever-shifting world sees her struggling in cities throughout America. When her luck changes―in love and in life―she can't help but "tell the sun / tell the fields / tell the huge Texas sky.... / tell myself again and again until I believe it." However, the upward trajectory of this new life is rocked by the sudden death of the poet's mother.
In the year that follows, Aptowicz battles the silencing power of grief with intimate poems burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, capturing the dance that all newly grieving must do between everyday living and the desire "to elope with this grief, / who is not your enemy, / this grief who maybe now is your best friend. / This grief, who is your husband, / the thing you curl into every night, / falling asleep in its arms..." As in her award-winning The Year of No Mistakes, Aptowicz counts her losses and her blessings, knowing how despite it all, life "ripples boundless, like electricity, like joy / like... laughter, irresistible and bright, / an impossible thing to contain."
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About the AuthorNYC-based Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is the founder and host of the three-time National Poetry Slam Championship venue, NYC-Urbana. Cristin has published five books of poetry and Words In Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam - a Washington Post Notable Book on Exploring Poetry. Her poetry has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendencies and Rattle. This touring poet-diva has performed the Sydney Opera House in Australia and The Drums Inside Your Chest in LA and is currently the 2010-2011 ArtsEdge Writer-In-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Grief is one of the most impossible things to put words to. In How to Love the Empty Air Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz does the impossible. With humor and honesty, she offers comfort and even the possibility of healing. This book is such a generous offering, such a rare light to hold in the dark."--Sarah Kay, author of No Matter the Wreckage
"As a reader who understands the particular hole the loss of a mother leaves, and as a reader who understands how a particular relationship with geography can breed longing, How to Love the Empty Air sung to me. But it will sing to you too because Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is so skilled about writing the specific with arms wide enough to welcome all. This is a book that will tattoo itself on all the places you love to look at most."--Hanif Abdurraqib, author of They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us