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Through finely crafted formal innovations and an unflinching focus on the realities of alcoholism, dementia, and the precarious pathways of family histories, Laura LeHew reminds us that poetry is one of the surest ways to fully inhabit our lives while grappling with realities that unsettle the mind and soul. —Ce Rosenow, author of Pacific and Spectral Forms
Rather than portraying family as the mythological unicorn we wish it to be, Becoming is the poetic equivalent of an antithetical Brady Bunch. Full of fracture, dementia, multi-generational substance abuse, and violence, Laura LeHew’s poems wrench family damage from shadows and whispers directly onto center stage. A poem in the voice of sister “Karen,” relates: “Once he fuckin’ broke the door down / pulled the phone off the wall / while I was callin’ the cops. / Remember? // Like dad did that one time when he was so pissed at you?” Heartbreak, rather than sentimentality, is woven into the tightly crafted fabric of the verse, as well as the organization of the collection, with found journal-entry poems, non-sequential ordering, and this solemn profound couplet from penultimate poem “Mother’s Day”: “& the past is the answer not / worth pursuing.” As dark as the reality of Becoming is, the journey is redeemed by unflinching examination, moments of unwavering generosity, and the faithful testimony of survival.
—Lana Hechtman Ayers, author of The Dead Boy Sings in Heaven
72 pages, handmade and numbered
ANC035 is out of print.