Who We Thought We Were As We Fell
by Michael Lithgow
Format: Trade Paperback
Size: 5.5" x 8.5"
POE011000 POETRY / Canadian / General
POE023010 POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
In this second poetry collection by Michael Lithgow, intimations of something numinous and larger than life jostle with the material demands of the everyday, sparking an uncertainty about what lurks at the edges of things, if anything at all. The poems drift in the tension between a pleasing suburban life simply lived and unsettling moments that pull against it, intrusions of the surreal.
Civic uncertainty in the wilderness gives way to more intimate modes of circumspection, a working-through of different kinds of grieving — for a parent who withers from cancer, for family members murdered in war, for the platforms of death on which common conveniences like grocery stores depend.
The poems weigh harsh realities against promises of life and renewal, struggling to put into words something that would rather not be named. They are a thought-provoking meditation on being haunted by darker and more beautiful shadows than are apparent on a life's face level.
“I'd say it's the best poetry book I've read in quite some time.”
— Angie Abdou, Daybreak Alberta
“In a world where everyone must live with grief and perpetual indignity, it is a sincerely heartening thing to have effective literary examples, in terms of both reckoning and perseverance. It is a project of tremendous difficulty that Lithgow takes on with this book, and the high degree to which he succeeds is very much worthy of praise.”
— Ethan Vilu, periodicities, June 2021