grief Archive

Sentinels of Grief in The Friend

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The Great Dane in Sigrid Nunez’s acclaimed novel embodies grief itself—a presence that comes uninvited, demands attention, disrupts routine, behaves inscrutably, and holds the power of ferocity and tenderness at once.

Women Grieving Women

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Recent works by Sarah Perry, Michelle Zauner, and Sara Nović demonstrate how, with time, they were able to take their pain and paralysis and forge something beautiful.

Obsessive Tactics in Patty Yumi Cottrell’s Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

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In Patty Yumi Cottrell's novel Sorry to Disrupt the Peace, the narrator Helen Moran investigates her adopted brother's suicide, an effort complicated by Helen's own profound alienation. Relentlessly interior, discursive and associative, the novel reads as the direct outcome of Helen's grief, an inner crisis she attempts to control


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Indeed, the theme of moving on—but not necessarily past—tragedy is her central message here.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: the Love Poem and the Elegy

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All of my attempted love poems sound like elegies, and so I’ve given up trying to write them for my beloved, lest I give the wrong impression. Occasionally, however, one will come to me like a windfall, a speck of gold in the pan.

What’s Left?: Poetry after disaster

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What do we do after something terrible happens? Is there any way to find hope in a world gone dark?

Writing Trauma: Notes of Transcendence, #5—The Objective Correlative

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Caldwell’s memoir is a deep exploration into how human and human-animal connections can heal us from traumatic experiences.

The Veins of the Ocean and the Politics of Grief

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Despite the foothold grief retains in our lives at large, its portrayals in our art are often one-size-fits-all. It isn’t simply a question of what is appropriate to grieve—the world provides no shortage of reasons for that—but whether on the television, over Facebook, or, most perplexingly, within literary fiction,

When Parents Die: William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow and Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs

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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