GRIEF & OTHER ANIMALS
2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award Finalist
Patty Paine’s superb new collection arises from the nearly unbearable— a mother’s death, but most especially the senseless death of a husband. And, as the crucial elegiac poets know, grieving never truly arrives in “stages,” and never ends in “closure.” It is a process infinitely more intricate and nuanced than the platitudes suggest, and it ends, at best, in only a fraught and vexed consolation, what one of her poems calls, “a sorrow deeper than solace.” Yet even a vexed consolation can be a form of quiet triumph, and these poems—spare, heartbroken, and always utterly precise--arrive repeatedly at such a triumph. Patty Paine has written a book of bravery and consummate artistry.
Elegy, in making grief a living thing, brings the dead back to life. But elegy is also how we ask ourselves to accept, a touching of the wound to accustom ourselves to pain. This stunning book both resurrects and more truly buries, and does what the best poetry does – shows me the world of another, and in doing so, brings me closer to my own. I feel bitten by these haunted poems.
Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (Accents Publishing) The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), Feral (Imaginary Friend Press), and co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Ithaca Press) and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf (Berkshire). Her poems, reviews, and interviews have appeared in Blackbird, Gulf Stream, The Journal, The South Dakota Review, and other publications. She is the founding editor of Diode Poetry Journal, and Diode Editions, and is Director of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, Qatar.