River House
River House

River House

“Heartbreaking and robust.” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
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These are poems of absence. Written after the loss of her mother, River House follows Sally Keith as she makes her way through the depths of grief, navigating a world newly transfigured. Incorporating her travels abroad, her experience studying the neutral mask technique developed by Jacques Lecoq, and her return to the river house she and her mother often visited, the poet assembles a guide to survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable pain. Even in the dark, Keith finds the ways we can be “filled with this unexpected feeling of living.”

River House is a profound new collection from one of the most prominent young poets at work today, addressing death, art, travel, and beauty—finding, in mourning, what it means to survive.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.3 in
4.2 oz

Sally Keith

Sally Keith is the author of Two of Everything, as well as four previous collections of poetry, including River House and The Fact of the Matter.

Praise and Prizes

  • “No poet of her generation braids passion with intellect more impressively than Sally Keith. And in River House, Keith carries her talent to a whole new level. An elegy for the poet’s mother, River House is also an investigation of how we give our lives meaning and shape. At turns gorgeous, wry, and heartbreaking, these poems render the individual soul with a disarming immediacy. To read River House is to feel grief and bewilderment verging into sheer wonder.”

    Peter Campion
  • “Heartbreaking and robust… . Sally Keith’s poems possess a quiet music, and their intricate scatters of thought bear witness to the intimate struggles of mourning.”

    Publishers Weekly
    (starred review)
  • “River because we are moving inexorably forward; house because we are locked forever to the past. Preternaturally calm even as they twist and turn against themselves, the sixty-three poems of River House feel as if they’re happening in the time it takes to read them, except that when you’re finished with River House, your dream comes true: you can read the poems again. I do not know of a book of poems that embodies more heartbreakingly or more intelligently the experience of irreconcilable loss.”

    James Longenbach
  • “Extraordinary … The poems focus the reader with a hunger so intelligent, so real, and so immediate, you forget you’re reading a poem. It’s like looking at the moon while watching the stars disappear: don’t you look harder? These poems are clear and strange. They illuminate without consolation. The world has ended many times in our contemporary literary landscape, but rarely has it started over with such agility, economy, and elegance.”

    Katie Peterson
  • “Honest … Striking … I’m mourning with the speaker, each poem somehow more shattering than the one previous.”

    Coal Hill Review