I am rich in reviews and so thankful for the close reading! The Bullcalf, Arc Magazine and The Kenyon Review. Ben Purkert makes a case for the elegy as selfie. Not what I intended, but he makes a compelling case.
Not all elegies, however, are necessarily selfless. Some are self-addressed. Sina Queyras’s M x T (Coach House Books, 2014) levels with the reader: “There will be no one to write an elegy for me and so I am writing my own now, I want you to keep up with me. I want you to feel the way the wind holds a bird.” Written in response to a series of deaths in the poet’s immediate family, M x T is a work of deep despair. Overwhelmed with mourning (“Water, water everywhere, my dead ones…”), Queyras confronts her sorrow with intense interiority: “I am not interested in what Bourdieu, or Kristeva, has to say about grief…. I don’t want a theory; I want the poem inside me. I want the poem to unfurl like a thousand monks chanting inside me. I want the poem to skewer me, to catapult me into the clouds.” With titles like “Sylvia Plath’s Elegy for Sylvia Plath,” M x T turns the mechanism of elegy on itself.