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Though none of us can predict our own futures, there are distinctive factors—individual and collective—that may forcibly turn our attention toward the uncertain.  In the poems in Brightword the speaker, a mother, contemplates the microcosm and macrocosm of dissection. Physically, her son is at constant risk of a life-threatening cardiac event. Environmentally, her son is obsessed with nature and the threat of eco-catastrophes. Through lyric exchange, images become the principal of repose.

64 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2


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Brightword is a stunning lyric meditation forged under the threat of child loss. Her son’s congenital heart condition renders Burwick’s daily ongoings defined by fear and joy, each increasing each. The young boy speaks, he plays, he grows, but ‘nothing yet enters our eyes as answers.’ When such pain funnels through the mind of a poet this masterful, what the world receives is nothing less than a song asking us to behold each other, and our very own children, as creatures who might not wake tomorrow. Transformation is often this terrifying. Yet throughout it all, the child lives in a brightward way, beseeching-without-beseeching his mother—and you, reader—to risk the same.”

Katie Ford, author of If You Have to Go

“Burwick’s Brightword takes its name from a line by Paul Celan—‘Near, in the aorta’s-arch, / in the bright blood: / the brightword’—and the whole collection feels inflected by that poet, that bright blood.  Here, ‘white friction, snow more specific /  than snow’ Burwick’s singular ear is matched only by her singular spirit; there is a grace in these poems few of us will ever know.”

Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf

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