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Sinners Welcome : Poems
by Mary Karr




Overview -

Mary Karr describes herself as a black-belt sinner, and this -- her fourth collection of poems --traces her improbable journey from the inferno of a tormented childhood into a resolutely irreverent Catholicism. Not since Saint Augustine wrote Give me chastity, Lord -- but not yet has anyone brought such smart-assed hilarity to a conversion story.

Karr's battle is grounded in common loss (a bitter romance, friends' deaths, a teenage son's leaving home) as well as in elegies for a complicated mother. The poems disarm with the arresting humor familiar to readers of her memoirs, The Liars' Club and Cherry. An illuminating cycle of spiritual poems have roots in Karr's eight-month tutelage in Jesuit prayer practice, and as an afterword, her celebrated essay on faith weaves the tale of how the language of poetry, which relieved her suffering so young, eventually became the language of prayer. Those of us who fret that poetry denies consolation will find clear-eyed joy in this collection.

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More About Sinners Welcome by Mary Karr

 
 
 

Overview

Mary Karr describes herself as a black-belt sinner, and this -- her fourth collection of poems --traces her improbable journey from the inferno of a tormented childhood into a resolutely irreverent Catholicism. Not since Saint Augustine wrote Give me chastity, Lord -- but not yet has anyone brought such smart-assed hilarity to a conversion story.

Karr's battle is grounded in common loss (a bitter romance, friends' deaths, a teenage son's leaving home) as well as in elegies for a complicated mother. The poems disarm with the arresting humor familiar to readers of her memoirs, The Liars' Club and Cherry. An illuminating cycle of spiritual poems have roots in Karr's eight-month tutelage in Jesuit prayer practice, and as an afterword, her celebrated essay on faith weaves the tale of how the language of poetry, which relieved her suffering so young, eventually became the language of prayer. Those of us who fret that poetry denies consolation will find clear-eyed joy in this collection.



This item is Non-Returnable.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060776541
  • ISBN-10: 0060776544
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: February 2006
  • Page Count: 93
  • Dimensions: 8.46 x 5.88 x 0.57 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.57 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Digging deep

Best known for a pair of provocative memoirs, The Liar's Club and Cherry, Mary Karr is also an acclaimed poet. A new collection called Sinners Welcome finds her coming to terms with her spiritual self, remembering lost friends and battling the empty-nest blues as her son leaves home for college. Karr is a master craftswoman, and her poems call attention to themselves through their very apparent artistry. She digs in deep to create tension—a verbal reversal that's unexpected, a phrase that astonishes, an image that startles.

In "Revelations in the Key of K," Karr describes how the alphabet has literally shaped her life: "I came awake in kindergarten,/under the letter K chalked neat. . . And in the surrounding alphabet, my whole life hid—/names of my beloveds, sacred vows I'd break." A series of pieces re-envisioning famous religious tableaux (the Crucifixion, the Nativity, the Garden of Gethsemane) contains some of the collection's most precise and sculpted poetry. Indeed, Karr's own spiritual quest is the foundation of the book, which concludes with a wonderful essay called "Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer."

 

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