Sunday, February 19, 2012

Announcing: The Language of Grief

"When we think about grief, it is this type of grief that usually comes to mind: the pain that follows the loss of a loved one to death. As these poems testify, however, feelings of loss and grief are much more mundane than that. They occur in all kinds of situations. We can feel grief when we abandon one living situation for another or when a longtime partner leaves us. We can even feel it when we begin a new relationship (grief for our loss of solitude). We can feel grief when we enter a new, clearly delineated life phase, such as when our career path changes or our values blatantly shift (thought in some cultures to occur every seven years, the frequency with which a snake changes its skin or the length of time it took to write this book). But we can also feel it more subtly, such as when our routines are disrupted or our ideals are undermined by the cruelties of experience. We can feel it when something happens in the collective political consciousness, such as after a presidential election, the declaration of a war, or the onset of a recession. On a smaller but no less powerful scale, we can feel it when we are humiliated at work (grief for own lost dignity), when we enter a shopping mall (grief for the commodification of our objects), or after we eat a cheap and nutritionless meal (grief for the poverty of our food). In the America I know, grief is omnipresent."

From the preface to The Language of Grief

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