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The Renunciations: Poems

The Renunciations: Poems

Donika Kelly
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An extraordinary collection of endurance and transformation by the award-winning author of Bestiary 

The Renunciations is a book of resilience, survival, and the journey to radically shift one's sense of self in the face of trauma. Moving between a childhood marked by love and abuse and the breaking marriage of that adult child, Donika Kelly charts memory and the body as landscapes to be traversed and tended. These poems construct life rafts and sanctuaries even in their most devastating confrontations with what a person can bear, with how families harm themselves. With the companionship of "the oracle"—an observer of memory who knows how each close call with oblivion ends—the act of remembrance becomes curative, and personal mythologies give way to a future defined less by wounds than by possibility.

In this gorgeous and heartrending second collection, we find the home one builds inside oneself after reckoning with a legacy of trauma—a home whose construction starts "with a razing."


Donika Kelly is the author of Bestiary, winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for poetry, and the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She teaches at the University of Iowa.


  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (May 4, 2021)
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • ISBN-10: 1644450534
  • ISBN-13: 9781644450536
  • Item Weight: 1.11 pounds
  • UNSPSC: 55101500
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