Comfort the Mourners by Meghan Sterling
Meghan Sterling’s gorgeous collection, Comfort the Mourners, is an elegy to self and selves. From the memories she shares of her grandparents’ family in Ukraine to the care she bears for her daughter — everything in this book is from the heart.
Comfort the Mourners is an outstanding collection of poems. I am dazzled
by so many of the lush metaphors and descriptions in this book. Meghan
Sterling is a wonderful poet with a striking imagination. In poem after
poem, there is true tenderness and immense daring. I highly recommend it.
—Zeeshan Pathan, author of The Minister of Disturbances
“How many dead am I,” writes Meghan Sterling, ending this utterance on
a period, not a question mark. But lushly, tenderly, relentlessly, the poems
in Comfort the Mourners will gather to ask their questions: what prayers,
what deaths, what wants can a granddaughter’s cells remember? What does
it mean to mourn, to desire, to age one’s way from daughter to mother and,
through memory, back again? When is language a way to burn, and when is
identity also elegy? They ask, too, what words can do, in a series of Ars Po-
etica pieces that witness how “the dead live again, lifted from my dark-webbed
head/ to be softly placed in the cradle of the bright page.” In place of answers,
these rich, vivid poems offer memories of flesh, dread and dreams, and a
way to “see the beauty in burning.”
—Sally Rosen Kindred, author of Where the Wolf
Comfort the Mourners weaves a delicate, fine tapestry of moments and im-
ages: family life, the war against Ukraine, poetry, the past and the present
with the living and those who have passed away but stay close to Sterling’s
ear so she can “hear them breathe out sea like a shell.” Sterling’s voice is
musical and unique. Comfort the Mourners stands out. It’s an exceptional
collection — grand, resonant, full of delights, and notable for the seamless
way it assembles beauty from tragedy and grandeur from the everyday.
—Michael Kleber-Diggs, author of Worldly Things
Meghan Sterling lives in Gardiner, Maine with her family. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Rhino Poetry, The Los Angeles Review, Rattle, Colorado Review, Pinch Journal, Radar Poetry, Rust & Moth, SWIMM, The West Review, Pirene’s Fountain, the Inflectionist Review, Rise Up Review, the Mom Egg Review and many others. Her chapbook, How We Drift, was published by Blue Lyra Press. She was Featured Poet in Frost Meadow Review’s Spring 2020 issue, a Dibner Fellow at the 2020 Black Fly Writer’s Retreat, and a Hewnoaks Artists’ Colony Resident in 2019 and 2021. She was co-editor of the anthology, A Dangerous New World: Maine Voices on the Climate Crisis, published by Littoral Books. Her debut full-length poetry collection, These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books) came out in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Eric Offer Grand Prize Award. Her second full-length collection, View from a Borrowed Field, won Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize and will come out in March 2023. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) will come out in April 2023. Her third full-length collection, Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) will come out summer 2023. When she isn’t writing poetry, being a mom or running in the snow, she works as Program Director for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.
5.5 x 8 inches
June 13th, 2023
Cover Design by Lara Atallah
Layout Design by Lara Atallah
Printing and Perfect Binding by our staff at Everybody Press in Industry City.