What the Living Do
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Why read it?
1 author picked What the Living Do as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
I’ve probably read this amazing book more than any other book of poems. It is Howe’s elegy to her brother John, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1989. I love how the book reads almost like a novel in verse, returning to her brother time and again. Howe’s poems bring together the physical and spiritual in transcendent ways. It was one the of first books I reread after I lost my mother during the pandemic—a companion during my grief. The famous title poem explores the everydayness of life even after loss—clogged kitchen sinks, groceries, parking the car, all that…
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