Mary Jo Bang's "Elegy" is a collection of poems written on the occasion of her son's death. Individually, they are cries of grief and remembrance; together they become the singular Elegy of the title.
This book is a devastating meditation on not only life and death, but motherhood, the inevitability of success and failure, guilt, disconnection, and loss. There is a great amount of love but not much redemption; the pain is very close. Yet, this is all done in such a lyrically beautiful manner that one does not feel like a voyeur or gawker. The reader comes just far enough in for the art's sake. -cg