Recent memoirs on death and dying offer profound insights for the living, from Edwidge Danticat’s comprehensive new book, The Art of Death, to more intimate accounts of facing death first-hand, such as Nina Riggs’ The Bright Hour and Cory Taylor’s Dying: A Memoir.
As people who will die someday, and whose loved ones will die someday, we all live with at least one large dark truth from which we often try to avert our gazes. This tension—knowing a thing, but living as far away from that knowledge as possible—surfaces in literature too.
Lately, I keep running across poems in collections and in literary journals that use facts or trivia as part of, and sometimes the heart of, their piece. What place does the language of fact, of historical tidbits and pop culture trivia have within the language of poetry?
Any funeral is poignant. But that’s particularly the case for those who die anonymously, unclaimed by friends or family. In the Netherlands, city poets have responded to the tragedy of “lonely funerals” by researching each deceased person and writing a tailored poem. The poems are short, stark, and moving
Last week my friend’s mother died, with brutal speed, of cancer. Ten years ago, my father died of a neurological disease so drawn out and cruel that we all wished for its end. Parents die, usually before their children, and so both of these deaths were inevitable in one
There is a cherished belief among much of the religious portion of this country that God has a purpose for all things, that there’s logic to circumstances that would otherwise just seem to sort of happen to us. “Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me” by Kate Bowler, which appeared
What Comes Next and How to Like It Abigail Thomas Scribner, March 2015 240 pages Buy: book | ebook I was first introduced to Abigail Thomas’s work in grad school when I read Safekeeping: Some True Stories From a Life. Initially, I was startled by its economy of words,
Readings in World Literature Srikanth Reddy Omnidawn, 2012 42 pages $11.95 Editor’s note: P. Scott Stanfield holds a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Recently, I challenged him to see how many references to other works and artists he could make in a single 500-word
I’ve been thinking about my old friend and first teacher Adrienne Rich every day since she died on March 27th in Santa Cruz and I was thinking today of an old funny moment in the sun I had with her and her partner Michelle on their deck in 1997,
[Editor’s note: Every few months, Akshay Ahuja will dig into the archives for an old book that has either fallen out of favor or never received the recognition it deserves. Feel free to add suggestions for future rediscoveries in the comments.] The Phantom Carriage Selma Lagerlöf Norvik Press, July