Are you surprised to receive this newsletter? Do you even remember signing up for it? I barely remember writing it. (Please don't unsubscribe.)
Raise your hand if 2017 wasn't your best year ever (insert raised-hand emoji here). The last newsletter I sent was at the end of July 2017. I ended that dispatch by telling you that I was taking a stack of pleasure reads with me on vacation, and I never reported back. My life went sideways soon after. I know that's vague. Life can go sideways in, well, a lot of ways. For me, the second half of 2017 was marked by entirely too much death, and pain, and sadness. I am still working through this. I may never finish working through it. It may work its way through me, and into me. It already has.
The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing, edited by my friend Kevin Young, has been a near constant companion to my insomniac nights.
it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple
it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
You are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives
it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will
—Adrienne Rich, "Final Notations"
I told a lie once in a verse. I said
I said I said I said "The heart will mend,
Body will break and mend, the foam replace
For even the unconsolable his taken friend."
This is a lie. I had not been here then.
—John Berryman, "To Bhain Campbell"
Stay tuned. I will be back before too long—with book recs and more. Promise.