When Blake went to Texas to study poetry, her mother and grandfather were both diagnosed with brain tumors. These poems speak to the months that followed.
The chapbook’s epigraph: Every fighter’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth. —Mike Tyson
Praise for Named After Death
Poetry can sometimes be challenging, and you think, “oh no, a poem, what if I read it wrong??” But Blake’s helpfully paired her poems with a thematically-related activity book, full of mazes, connect-the-dots, and colouring exercises, and I am TERRIFIC at those, so now I’m great at poetry too. Thank you Sarah!!
–Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics and Romeo and/or Juliet
When does a life end? Does it end with, or before, or after the self ends? In Named After Death, Sarah Blake writes—forcefully, gorgeously—her way to and through answers to these questions and other, parallel and equally impossible, questions. These poems testify to the terrible end of the self, to its bewildering continuing on beyond death, and to the difficultly of asserting one’s own selfhood when one is called upon to bear not just the memories, but to some extent the selves of the dead and of the beloved, as women are too often called upon to do. “I allow myself to think of things beyond him / and I am flooded by them,” Blake writes. Her poems think, and live.
–Shane McCrae, author of The Animal Too Big to Kill and Forgiveness Forgiveness