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Rehearsal: Poems
Willis, Irene
IPBooks / Softcover / 2018-08-01 / 1949093018
Poetry / Aging Well
price: $22.95
64 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

In her poignant new collection, Rehearsal, poet Irene Willis gifts us with a remarkable discovery—that to embrace the truths of dying is to celebrate life. In clear precise language, Willis enables us to share the couple’s deep love shining through details of their days, to know that no matter one’s age, the moment of death surprises. The book’s second section deals with the after time, as in the remarkable poem titled “Hers” when “she started to own her own life”—that the loneliness of widowhood brings with it the strengths of independence. Blended in are poems of vivid childhood experience, her mother’s aging time, exhanges with other poets. To read these poems by Irene Willis is to have one’s own life enriched by her clarity of vision, her voice of wisdom and courage.

—Charlotte Mandel, author of To Be The Daylight


Each passing year of life, each new wrinkle of the skin, each hesitation of limbs and, above all, each loss of a loved one, is a preparation for what awaits us at the end of our lives’ journeys. Nonetheless, the sojourn brings us glimpse of great joy, pride, musing, thrill, the pleasure of efficacy, lust, and yes, also sadness, defeat, shame, regret and remorse. Irene Willis offers us lexical snapshots taken along this bittersweet highway and does so with great eloquence and dignity.

Salman Akhtar
Author of Freshness of the Child (2018)

Table of Contents:
I
Rehearsal 1
A New Book 2
Longing 3
Hygge 4
Following 5
Taking Care 6
Last Call 7
Weather 8
Letting Go 9
Josh 10
Un-filling 11
Leaving Alice 12
Passing It On 13
She Knew 14
What Can You Give Me? 15
That Night 16
Gone 17
Cream of Wheat 18
Sorry for Your Loss 19
Later 20
Clipping the Hedge 21
Phone Call 22
This Much 23
Soft Target 24
Widows 25

II
Hers 28
Her Self 29
Objects 30
One Thing a Day 31
Approaching Eighty 32
Under the Weather 33
Slowly I've Turned into the Matriarch 34
The Mother Tree 35
DNA 36
Platitudes at the Gas Pump 37
Gerontology 38
Where They Live Now 39
As We Wait for Dinner 40
Letter to Donald Hall 41
To All the Lost Poets 42
Maxine: Our Last Exchange 43
The Wrong Demographic 44
Endpoint 45
Getting to Choose 46
Notes 47
About the Author 48
Acknowledgments 49

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