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Distributed for CavanKerry Press


A poetry collection focused on grief and the many ways it can impact a family.

The death of a youngest child. An alcoholic and distant father. A grief-stricken family. A tentative faith. These are the building blocks of Boy, a sequence of poems that explores how death and loss color memory and influence the ways family members relate to each other and to their shared history.

Inspired by the death of her own younger brother, Tracy Youngblom has written a poetry collection that serves as a companion to grief. This book is for those who love poetry and those who are intimidated by it, those interested in the way childhood experience shapes life, and those interested in the psychology of addiction.

88 pages | 6 x 9


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“‘I cried into a plaid shirt,’ Tracy Youngblom writes about the funeral of her younger brother. ‘Even / birdsong tacked to air scratched / our ears.’ Defiantly observant, fiercely intelligent, we meet the speaker of this book-length sequence as the pre-teen middle sister watching her family crumble and, decades later, as the mother of her own boys grappling with the past's ‘fragmented, mosaiced / wreckage.’ Youngblom pulls no punches here. In her thoroughly engrossing narrative, we find not elegy, but the powerful and intimate chronicle of a woman seeking answers.”

Annie Kim, author of 'Into the Cyclorama' and 'Eros, Unbroken'

“When Tracy Youngblom is a child herself, her younger brother dies, in a quick and utterly random accident. And then—the world goes on. This is the intimate and unvarnished truth of how that happens in a family, and the reality is so much more complex and varied than you could imagine: cold, desperate, cynical, cyclical, beautiful. Somehow Youngblom creates poems that are both unflinching and exquisite—just please read this book, you will never forget it.”

Kirsten Dierking, author of 'One Red Eye,' 'Northern Orchards,' and 'Tether'

Table of Contents


"Imagine a mirror dropped"

1: The Other True Story

"Before his heartbeat it was Christmas"
"When my melon mother finally expelled"
"The moon, that big innocent eye"
"Up close everything is different"
"A boy in a field is just a boy"
"Breeze draws everything upward: sheets"
"Stairs: a way to enter"
“Late June: our world is giddy"
"Such portent at your birth"

2: Slide Becomes Fall

"Summer: it’s wild, no holds barred"
"In 1972, everyone has a finished basement"
"Middle sister, I had time to grow"
"Late June heat. I play catch"
"We think a lot. But we can’t think"

3: Barely Any Words

"To get really good at something"
"Memories are like this: beach"
"Silence of aftermath"
"It sucks to be pure and predictable"
"Even when it appears, the truth"
"We could tell there was snot dripping"
"We didn’t know him except"
"His objects are hidden all over"

4: Suddenly Incomprehensible

"The funeral has passed, we"
"Jesus and Lazarus came back”
"Look, it’s the moon"
"That first Christmas: presents"
"The moon was just past full"
"September came with its flagrant"
“We prayed for others, not"

5: No Leaving

“Aristotle Said”

6: Shapeless as the Dark

"The way the wind holds its breath"
"This is how to bear losing"
"Never a time I get up when"
"Indian summer carves"
"My sister stares at me"
"There were so many who didn’t know”
“First, I chose the man—leapt”
"So many ways to fall: carrying"
“When my oldest son fell down the stairs"
"Each time one of my three boys"
"His arm was in a cast from his recent fall"
"They will devour the centers"

7: Cries of Such Pitch

"Two things I have learned"
"I may have gotten this wrong"
"Suppose the carrots I tug"
"Not a field—a garden"
"So strange I want to"
"I am 50, and I’ve never seen"
"We go to the house of fun"
"Holding onto belief"
"I am still surrounded by boys”

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