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Untitled Child by Nancy Jo Cullen

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Untitled Child by Nancy Jo Cullen

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In her third collection of poems, Untitled Child, Nancy Jo Cullen once again turns her questing and multidimensional mind to the nature of madness, addiction, impermanence and loss. This confessional collection takes an unflinching look at the path of a life’s destruction to create a harrowing chronicle of bereavement.

In 2006 Nancy Jo Cullen’s life partner died after a long struggle with mental illness and addiction. Untitled Child examines the trajectory of the end of the marriage between the two women and the author tries to understand her role in a series of painful events.

Untitled Child is part memoir, part rant and part lament as Cullen examines the rage, grief and surprise about the terrible havoc that addiction can reap on a life.

Praise for Untitled Child 

Reading Cullen’s poems is a little like drinking booze. Definitely not wine, because it’s not all that genteel, and not beer, because it’s not all that commonplace, but hard liquor because it’s edgy, fast-acting, more than a little disorienting and frequently mixed with something sweet…Cullen understands how we are entertained by our emotions, and this poetry is trained like a laser scope on our limbic systems. – Globe & Mail

Excerpt

Bad Hair Day

That coroner fucked with your hair
left you, cold, odd and stuffed in a box
in the condition and quality of being deceased
you made a strange package
chin tucked like a new shirt sleeve
style clearly immaterial to the act of dissection
anyway, it’s not as though pretty would have solved the problem of your corpse

On television the dead are perfectly lit
easy faces framed by chic cuts
those styling cadavers couldn’t foretell
the greased hair pushed from your brow
after all those thousands of dollars you spent at the salon

Today I loaded your boxes into the car
the material verification that you once lived
that we fought and loved
these books and towels, these t-shirts and glasses
this stuff of your life has left me weak
now it will become the good bargain of someone else’s trip to the thrift store

I am keeping your hair cream

Read an INTERVIEW with Nancy Jo Cullen

Untitled Child, Nancy Jo Cullen, Poetry
Publisher: Frontenac House, 2009
ISBN 978-1-897181-27-0, 80 pages
Paperback, 6″ x9″, $15.95


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