Book Details

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About the Book

A new volume of poetry from the New York Times bestselling and esteemed author of The Liar’s Club and Lit.

Long before she earned accolades for her genre-defining memoirs, Mary Karr was winning poetry prizes. Now the beloved author returns with a collection of bracing poems as visceral and deeply felt and hilarious as her memoirs. In Tropic of Squalor, Karr dares to address the numinous—that mystery some of us hope towards in secret, or maybe dare to pray to. The "squalor" of meaninglessness that every thoughtful person wrestles with sits at the core of human suffering, and Karr renders it with power—illness, death, love’s agonized disappointments. Her brazen verse calls us out of our psychic swamplands and into that hard-won awareness of the divine hiding in the small moments that make us human. In a single poem she can generate tears, horror, empathy, laughter, and peace. She never preaches. But whether you’re an adamant atheist, a pilgrim, or skeptically curious, these poems will urge you to find an inner light in the most baffling hours of darkness.

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Critical Praise

“So much trickery has been got up to in religion’s name that it’s natural to get nervous when a writer starts talking about salvation, but Karr never tries to substitute faith for sound poetic practices. If anything, by adding prayer, she just makes the poems that much stronger.” —David Kirby, New York Times, on Sinners Welcome

“Skepticism is mitigated by Karr’s humor, her mildly ironic stance and the capacity for wry self-examination. Theology takes on a kind of earthy insight.... As Karr knows, her endeavor is ages old. It may be that all lyric poetry aspires to prayer. What gives Sinners Welcome its sharp edge is the poet’s eloquently passionate struggle at the junction of doubt and devotion.” —Judith Kitchen, Washington Post, on Sinners Welcome

Sinners Welcome mixes her beloved stories from the wrong side of the tracks with new notes of care and forgiveness and pure, often angry, hymns to God.... It’s a daring mix. Before she had her fists up; now she strips herself bare, a far braver act.” —Laurel Maury, Los Angeles Times, on Sinners Welcome

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062699824
  • ISBN 10: 0062699822
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 05/08/2018
  • Pages: 96
  • List Price: 28.50 CAD
  • BISAC1: POETRY / Women Authors
  • BISAC2: POETRY / American / General
  • BISAC3: POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Inspirational & Religious

Tropic of Squalor by Mary Karr

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