A Messenger Comes

Rachel Tzvia Back’s A Messenger Comes is poetry that, without apology, centers on grief and its faithful companion, memory. The reality of death – always a shock – pulls us inward and apart; but the messenger from the living insists that we mourn while we continue on with our lives. Back’s poems are moving, eloquent, and delicately honed; they allow us to feel her (and our) sorrows in their true depth as they intermingle with our mundane routines. A Messenger Comes is a gift that each of us needs and should read again and again.
—Irena Klepfisz

In A Messenger Comes the poet’s spirit is broken by her grief. Beautifully rich and emotionally engaging, this is no simple book of consolation. In its steadfast beauty, it is a book of questions: can grief be sustained? What can we learn from the grief of another? She has lost her sister & her father; what could we possibly say to console her? Can we know another’s grief? What if grieving is not something we should get over? What are the connections between grief & memory? How does a poem intensify our memory of the ones we have lost? Lost to what? Thus this is a messenger we will want & need to welcome time & again. A harrowing & inspiring book of poems!

—Hank Lazer

Read reviews in Jacket2 here, in The Forward here, and in Galatea Resurrection here.  

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