What the Living Do: Poems (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This is one of those books that almost makes me angry because I didn't write it. I have never encountered a more tightly-constructed sequence of poems. Each one flows so seamlessly, so inexorably and relentlessly into the next that they demand to be devoured in a single sitting. The grief explored here is so potent and crucial, it's impossible to look away. This book is an event. I keep coming back to it again and again, in awe.

-- Haley

— From Haley P. Staff Picks


Informed by the death of a beloved brother, here are the stories of childhood, its thicket of sex and sorrow and joy, boys and girls growing into men and women, stories of a brother who in his dying could teach how to be most alive. What the Living Do reflects "a new form of confessional poetry, one shared to some degree by other women poets such as Sharon Olds and Jane Kenyon. Unlike the earlier confessional poetry of Plath, Lowell, Sexton et al., Howe's writing is not so much a moan or a shriek as a song. It is a genuinely feminine form . . . a poetry of intimacy, witness, honesty, and relation" (Boston Globe).
Product Details
ISBN: 9780393318869
ISBN-10: 0393318869
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 17th, 1999
Pages: 91
Language: English