Reading: Meghan O'Rouke

Meghan O'Rourke

Sun in Days

Monday, November 6 at 7:00pm
A groundbreaking new collection by a celebrated writer of “ambitious and dynamic poems” (New York Times).

From the acclaimed poet and critic Meghan O’Rourke comes a powerful collection about the frailty of the body, the longing for a child, and the philosophical questions raised when the body goes dramatically awry. In formally ambitious poems and lyric essays, Sun in Days gives voice to the experience of illness, the permanence of loss, and invigorating moments of grace. Wresting a recuperative beauty from one’s days, O’Rourke traces an arc from loss and illness to the life force of pregnancy and motherhood. Along the way, she investigates a newfound existential awareness of all that vanishes. This is O’Rourke’s most ambitious book to date: unsentimental yet deeply felt, and characterized by the lyric precision and force of observation for which her work is known.

From “Idiopathic Illness”

What can be said? I came w/o a warranty,
Stripped of me―or me-ish-ness―
I was a will in a subpar body.
I waxed toward all that waned inside.

“In long lines―like long nights of love or suffering―or in fleeting scenes like snapshots, O’Rourke reminds us that life (in a body, of the mind) is a dappled thing, patchy and reverberating. The poet’s heat-seeking intelligence detects primal unanswered questions (of pain, of desire, of loss) and finds new ways to throw light on them… In the world of [Sun in Days], what was longed for (but never was) is as meaningful as what happened, as true as what is, depending on the light. O’Rourke’s light is gorgeous and powerful.”
- Brenda Shaughnessy

“Meghan O’Rourke’s Sun In Days is a lyric meditation on what happens to consciousness when the body ineluctably fails. As a self-portrait of chronic illness, her collection compassionately celebrates the sensuality of experience and mourns its gradual and mysterious loss. This is O’Rourke’s most ravishing and brilliant collection yet.”
- Cathy Park Hong

“Meghan O’Rourke’s new Sun in Days is a marvel, a heartbreak. O’Rourke pushes her poetry to include tactics her brilliant prose has often pursued―more information, more speculation, more room to meditate.”
- David Baker

“In a confessional and plainspoken narrative mode, O'Rourke delves into memory and 'the body's failure.' ”
- Publishers Weekly
Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the collections Halflife and Once, and a memoir, The Long Goodbye. A former editor at The New Yorker, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor for the Paris Review. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Poetry, the New Republic, and Poetry, among others. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, and other awards, she lives in Brooklyn.
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