I, Afterlife (Essay in Mourning Time)

By Kristin Prevallet

[Essay Press, 2007; 2012; 2019]

According to Fanny Howe, “here elegy and essay converge leaving only a sense of the poetic itself to comfort a person facing a catastrophic loss.”

Forrest Gander calls  I, Afterlife  “the quietest and most intimate book by one of our best poets.”

Much admired by her contemporaries for her experiments in poetic form, Kristin Prevallet now turns these gifts to the most vulnerable moments of her own life, and in doing so has produced a testament that is both disconsolate and powerful. Meditating on her father’s unexplained suicide, Prevallet alternates between the clinical language of the crime report and lyricism of the elegy. Throughout, she offers a defiant refusal of easy consolations or redemption. Driven by “the need to extend beyond the personal and out toward the intolerable present,” Prevallet brings herself and her readers to the chilling but transcendent place where, as she promises, “darkness has its own resolutions.”

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