Skating with Heather Grace

Overview


Often his subjects are commonplace his wife, dog and children, his work and the poems are set at home in Michigan and abroad, in Ireland and Italy. (Several of the pieces are about Argyle, a mythic Irish character.) Like his father, Lynch is an undertaker, and the poems that address death here are sagacious and overcome the risk of morbidity by embracing life while facing death. Other standouts are his tender meditation on his daughter, "Skating with Heather Grace," and the heartfelt, gritty perceptions of ...
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Overview


Often his subjects are commonplace his wife, dog and children, his work and the poems are set at home in Michigan and abroad, in Ireland and Italy. (Several of the pieces are about Argyle, a mythic Irish character.) Like his father, Lynch is an undertaker, and the poems that address death here are sagacious and overcome the risk of morbidity by embracing life while facing death. Other standouts are his tender meditation on his daughter, "Skating with Heather Grace," and the heartfelt, gritty perceptions of "Tatyana." Most of the pieces are composed in pentameters, the majority written in a capricious blank verse.

Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Often his subjects are commonplace his wife, dog and children, his work and the poems are set at home in Michigan and abroad, in Ireland and Italy. (Several of the pieces are about Argyle, a mythic Irish character.) Like his father, Lynch is an undertaker, and the poems that address death here are sagacious and overcome the risk of morbidity by embracing life while facing death. Other standouts are his tender meditation on his daughter, 'Skating with Heather Grace,' and the heartfelt, gritty perceptions of 'Tatyana.' Most of the pieces are composed in pentameters, the majority written in a capricious blank verse."—Publishers Weekly

"Mr. Lynch's caustic humor is part inheritance, part the reaction to modern culture of a poet caught between two worlds. . . . Mr. Lynch, by no means incidentally, earns his living as an undertaker; mortality is this book's underlying theme. The dire struggle in these poems—and despite strong domestic leanings, Mr. Lynch appears driven to extremes—is balancing life's opposing forces."—The New York Times

"This powerful, provocative collection of 42 poems introduces a poet who speaks with authority and eloquence. . . . Like his father, Lynch is an undertaker, and the poems that address death here are sagacious and overcome the risk of morbidity by embracing life while facing death."—Publishers Weekly

The New York Times
Mr. Lynch’s caustic humor is part inheritance, part the reaction to modern culture of a poet caught between two worlds. . . . Mr. Lynch, by no means incidentally, earns his living as an undertaker; mortality is this book’s underlying theme. The dire struggle in these poems—and despite strong domestic leanings, Mr. Lynch appears driven to extremes—is balancing life’s opposing forces.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This powerful, provocative collection of 42 poems introduces a poet who speaks with authority and eloquence. Often his subjects are commonplacehis wife, dog and children, his workand the poems are set at home in Michigan and abroad, in Ireland and Italy. (Several of the pieces are about Argyle, a mythic Irish character.) Like his father, Lynch is an undertaker, and the poems that address death here are sagacious and overcome the risk of morbidity by embracing life while facing death. Other standouts are his tender meditation on his daughter, ``Skating with Heather Grace,'' and the heartfelt, gritty perceptions of ``Tatyana.'' Most of the pieces are composed in pentameters, the majority written in a capricious blank verse. Although at times the meter suffers from excessive use of run-over lines, elsewhere there is grace and control, indeed virtuosity. Lynch is a poet with something to say and something worth listening to. (January)
Library Journal
first book, Lynch speaks directly and boldly, invoking ritual by bringing the reader close to its performance: ``Soon as I am able/ I intend to turn/ to gold myself.'' A Midwesterner who earns his living as an undertaker, Lynch writes poems that unpretentiously rehearse the dreams of the dying as they celebrate the everchanging relationships of the livingof four children, of a marriage in transition. There is craft and careful language, at times a Yeatsian echo, as in the three ``Argyle'' pieces for the sin-eater of old Ireland who serves the dead. Throughout, Lynch traces his ties to the past, and though his poems sometimes dazzleas do the metaphysical conceits of ``For the ex-wife on what I don't wish you''as often they are ways of ``learning gravity,'' Heather Grace's task in the title poem. Rosaly DeMaios Roffman, English Dept., Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887485411
  • Publisher: Carnegie-Mellon University Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2011
  • Series: Carnegie Mellon Classic Contemporary Series: Poetry
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 836,519
  • Product dimensions: 4.70 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS LYNCH's poems, essays, and stories have appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, Harper's, and The Times (of London, New York, Ireland, and Los Angeles), and elsewhere. His book, The Undertaking, was a finalist for the National Book Award. The PBS Frontline film based on this work won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts & Culture Documentary. His first collection of stories, Apparition & Late Fictions, has recently been published by W. W. Norton. He lives in Milford, Michigan, and in Moveen West, County Clare, Ireland.
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Table of Contents

Michael's Reply to the White Man
A Death
The Sin-Eater
Venice
The Blood We Paid For
The West Window in Moveen
With Tapers Quenched
A Family of Fishermen
Tatyana
Like My Father Waking Early
Marriage
Lessons from Berkeley
O Canada
Argyle in Agony
The Widow
Rotary International
A Dream of Death in the First-Person
Skating with Heather Grace
Learning Gravity
A Clearing in the Woods
A Note on the Rapture to His True Love
October
Pornography
The Orient
The Liturgist
I Felt Myself Turning
A Good Death Even When It Kills You
To Her Sisters on the Nature of the Universe
Where It Came From
Noon on Saturday
A Woman with a Woman's Parts
Wormwood
Argyle in Vapors
Pruning
The Grandmothers
The Student
Woman Gardening
The Exhibitionist
For the Ex-Wife on the Occasion of Her Birthday
How to Stay Alive
Damage
Argyle's Balance
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