Portrait by Leslie Song
“This brave and beautiful book is not simply writing about the body—the writer’s own—in chronic pain; it is a deep inhabiting of it, moving through it like a landscape, using all the resources of poetry to stay alert, still thinking, seeking and responding at the point where language generally breaks down. Andrea Scarpino faces not just the drama but the tedium of pain, and offers us no easy comfort; rather, there is both raw insight and surprising grace. The writing dissolves the usual boundaries, between prose and poetry, medical fact and mythical imagination and—like pain itself—between our individual bodies and the whole surrounding world.”
“Poetry never brings back those we’ve lost, but the best poems of mourning forge dignity in a newly emptied world. The craft, restraint, and lyric insistence of Andrea Scarpino’s poems give Once, Then an Orphic intensity. This book is gorgeous, and necessary.”—Don Bogen
"Scarpino's poems courageously lay bare the nerves and heart of violence and loss in order to uncover exquisite truths about human resilience. These remarkable poems haunt and reverberate across time, even when the speaker's notion of family becomes ...a distant planet, [a] solar system we knew we couldn't reach. In vivid, multi-layered poems, Scarpino unbuttons language reminiscent of the most memorable fairytales, and pins it to the wall."