Once by Meghan O'Rourke

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A powerful collection of poems about grief and renewal by an astonishing and formidable young poet.

The incandescent poems in Once explore violence, loss, and recovery. Invoking both the personal and the civic self, they chart uncertain new beginnings in a shattered nation. What emerges is both a poignant meditation on a daughter's relationship with her mother and a citizen's relationship to her country.

from "Frontier"
     . . . At times,
     I felt sick, intoxicated
     by BPA and mercury.
     At other times I fasted and the stars
     stumbled clear from the vault.
     Up there, the universe stands around drunk.
     I hope the Lord is kind to us,
     for we engrave our every mistake . . .

About Meghan O'Rourke

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Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the poetry collections Halflife and Once, and a memoir, The Long Goodbye. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, among them The New Yorker and Slate. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Published October 3, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 89 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Once

Publishers Weekly

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O’Rourke’s judgments and memories obtain the concise finality that only poetry can provide: early snow descends on “frozen fresh-bloomed flowers./ They creaked and cried,/ wild colts, being broken.” Another poem remembers her mother’s last days: “A week ago she climbed the stairs/ to ...

Aug 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Once: Poems

The Kenyon Review

A recipient of the 2008 May Sarton Poetry Prize, she is co-poetry editor of the Paris Review and a culture critic for Slate.

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