Kabbalistic poems that recognize wit as a ritual of mourning, winner of the 2020 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize
The poems in Town Crier wryly express the pervasive nature of loss, how it suffuses all aspects of a life: memories, hopes, love, sex, lunch. The death of the author’s dear friend, the late poet Max Ritvo, becomes the cornerstone of the book, a foundational pain along which the poems are aligned. The poems grieve. They try to cope. They come up short. They try again, insisting as they do that language holds consequential, redemptive powers. Sarah Matthes is equal parts jester and conjurer, sensing the precious alchemy of laughter and lament, crying out to those who have left her and those who remain.