Designated Mourner (Catherine Owen)

Reading Catherine Owen's Designated Mourner is uncomfortable and feels wrong. Elegies for a deceased spouse, Owen's poems are discomforting in the truest sense.

This raw, exposed emotion is doubly impressive due to the actual polish of the poems on the craft level.

Owen oscillates between simple, stark expressiveness (“We were so perfect / at the Safeway”) and ornate imagery (“the dead have entered me and suddenly I am many crows / in one crow, feasting on the beautiful dropped prey of this hawk-life”). 

“I want to stop writing poems for you now,” writes Owen, and the collection thus comes to operate like the designated mourner of its title, continuing to cry after it closes.

Liked it? Take a second to support Jonathan Ball on Patreon!

Tags: , , , , ,

Jonathan Ball is a writer, filmmaker, and scholar living at www.jonathanball.com.

Liked it? Take a second to support Jonathan Ball on Patreon!
I want to send you my best new work.

I want to send you my best new work.

Every week, I will send you my best new page, and tell you about how I wrote it. I'll share resources I used, techniques you could try, and other behind-the-scenes information and writing advice.

Liked it? Take a second to support Jonathan Ball on Patreon!

Join the Conversation!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.