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Thomas Lynch

Bone Rosary

New & Selected Poems

Thomas Lynch

Publication Date : 23 Jun 2022

ISBN: 9781780376189

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

America’s much celebrated poet-undertaker Thomas Lynch is renowned for his thought-provoking poems on life, faith, doubt and death. This new retrospective shows the passage of his work over time, ‘a pilgrimage of sorts through growing old and facing death – subjects that caregivers know all too well. Lynch’s upfront, unvarnished style is likely to resonate with many who have come face to face with life’s most important questions’ (Mary Plummer, New York Times).

Lynch – like Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams – is a poet who writes about real things with language rooted in the everyday yet masterfully infused with power. He spent his working life as an undertaker in Midwest America, becoming in his off-hours a writer of exceptional insight with much to say about life’s questions and mysteries – big and small. Drawing on his own daily routine, he transforms the mundane task of preparing the dead into life-affirming accounts of how we live our lives. His lyrical, elegiac poems describe the dead citizens of of his home town, his own family relationships, and scenes and myths from his Irish Catholic upbringing.

Bone Rosary brings the extraordinary work of a lifetime together with new, important, timely poems. This is art that helps us to understand the world as it challenges us to stay alive and in it. Sorrow balanced so evenly with humor – actual hilarity, in fact – is rare, and a reminder of the purpose of poetry itself. How lucky we are to have this collection, which is a celebration of Thomas Lynch, his accomplishments, and his great talent. It’s a gift – a palpable reminder of the sacred and immortal power of poetry.’ – Laura Kasischke

‘An undertaker takes you under, and Thomas Lynch has made a fine career of that. His poems, while respecting the mighty surface of earthly things, take us under the apparent world to where consciousness is alive and shimmering with joy and loss, blindness and epiphany. His voice has that kind of lilt that can charm, if not birds from the trees, then readers from their treehouses.’ – Billy Collins

‘Thomas Lynch has a singular voice in American literature… Bone Rosary’s introduction, a rollicking ten pages of memoir, [is] worth the price of the book alone.’ – Reformed Journal

‘One of the most humane and necessary poets working today. If Lynch was on Mastermind, his specialist subject would be the hard-won understanding that life teaches, rather than the textbook “wisdom” that so many other writers cull from books, and, at times, he is daringly barefaced in his ego-less celebration of the world he has come to accept.’ – John Burnside, The Scotsman

‘Hymns to the homely, burlesques of the prideful, blessings for the newborn, laments for the lost: these are the circuits of devotion in Bone Rosary. Nowhere in our suffering century have the concordances between the ceremonies of faith and of friendship been more eloquently brought to life. Reader, we live in a dark time. May you be, as I have been, restored by what you find in these pages.’ – Linda Gregerson

‘For some thirty-five years Thomas Lynch has been publishing poems with a voice and understanding completely his own. His poetry emerges from a proud heritage with deep roots in Irish-American Catholicism and the history and culture of the Irish on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet for all his tribal affiliations, Lynch speaks with a stubborn independence, an irreverent humor, a frank joy in the pleasures of the flesh, and a bracing acknowledgment of life’s responsibilities and sorrows. This book represents an enduring poetic legacy.’ – Richard Tillinghast

'An artist of great gifts, musically elevating and directing the speaking voice towards a startling power, moving through the accumulation of detail to give a visionary account of the ordinary life, doing justice to its terror and comedy. If it remains the poet's task to say things on behalf of everybody Lynch shows how it should be done.' – Sean O'Brien

‘There is such generosity and grace in his work. To read it is to encounter a calm, observant intelligence. He is an original. Of that there is no doubt. His writing is lucid, measured and rich in exact images. Meditative and politely laconic, this is a terrific collection from a writer who thinks and feels and tells stories with an engagingly distilled candour and assurance all his own.’ – Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

Thomas Lynch live at Ledbury Poetry Festival

Thomas Lynch read with Tony Hoagland at Ledbury Poetry Festival on 1st July 2017.


Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from US edition from Godine






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