In late April 2017, Laura Apol’s twenty-six-year-old daughter, Hanna, took her own life. Apol had long believed in the therapeutic possibilities of writing, having conducted workshops on writing-for-healing for more than a decade. Yet after Hanna’s death, she had her own therapeutic writing to do, turning her anguish, disbelief, and love into poems that map the first year of loss. This collection is the result of that writing, giving voice to grief as it is lived, moment by moment, memory by memory, event by event. While most writing about loss does so from a distance, Apol chooses instead to write from inside those days and months and seasons, allowing readers to experience alongside the poet the moments, the questions, and the deep longings that shape the first grief-year.
This collection of poems hangs together brilliantly, each poem standing alone but building on the one that went before and the one that follows. Anyone who loves poetry will love this book. Anyone who has lost a child will seek it out. Any human who has felt grief or fears the grief to come will find this book a balm and a revelation.—Lorna Crozier, author of Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats)
This is a poet whose craft is subtle, who writes poems of exceptional gravity and beauty. This is a courageous book, and what the poet has had to walk through, to live through, in order to write this book took a kind of bravery, a kind of nerve, few could imagine.—Todd Davis, author of Native Species
These poems are both urgent and necessary, speaking to all of us, not just to mourners. They are hard poems, without easy consolation, urging us to love the world in spite of its unspeakable sorrow. The best poetry can tear your heart into shreds, but it can also mend it again, and that’s what Laura Apol is doing here. These are poems I will return to, again and again.—Barbara Crooker, author of Some Glad Morning
A Fine Yellow Dust bears witness to what it means to survive the unbearable. This book is for us all: survivors who need to find solace when there is none, those who want to comfort the grief stricken yet don’t know how, and for those training in suicide prevention who need to understand the transformative power of writing and what it means to find a flicker of hope in the company of grief.—Katrina Jaworski, author of The Gender of Suicide: Knowledge Production, Theory and Suicidology