Mary Karr describes herself as a black-belt sinner who's made an improbable journey out of the inferno for her famously tormented childhood. In her fourth collection of poetry, she documents her transformation into a resolutely irreverent Catholic. No one before has brought such smart-assed hilarity to a conversion narrative. The battle is grounded in common loss (a bitter romance, deaths of friends, a teenage son leaving home) as well as elegies for a complicated mother, but these poems disarm with an arresting humor familiar to fans of The Liars`Club and Cherry.
They are illuminated by a cycle of spiritual poems rooted in Karr's eight-month tutelage in Jesuit prayer practice, and an essay that weaves together how Karr's reliance on poetry as a pathway out of suffering made (go here> excellent interview) prayer possible for an unbeliever.
Readers who complain that poetry wallows in gall and denies us consolations will find clear-eyed joy in this collection.
Link (here) to the Princeton website