Two of Everything

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An abundant and anticipatory collection of poems exploring the season of waiting that precedes adoption.
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An abundant and anticipatory collection of poems exploring the season of waiting that precedes adoption.

From Guggenheim fellow and celebrated author Sally Keith comes an incantatory collection of poems on the transformative process of nurturing new life and the practical challenges of starting a family.

In Two of Everything, Keith depicts an evocative domestic landscape. An oriole weaves a nest of “straw, wool, horsehair, and feather” while hopeful parents meet with social workers, compile family videos, write, sketch. Intertwined with these scenes is a candid navigation of the US adoption industry and the unique obstacles faced by queer couples. “I want Amor to promise me that everything will be alright,” says the speaker-poet. “But she won’t.” Interviews don’t go as expected, mothers withdraw from adoption conversations, “the bees are dying again.” Torn by feelings of shame for participating in a system that commodifies children, Keith’s speaker-poet finds herself caught between longing and dismay, wondering if and how poetry can carry us through such moments—and through the mysteries of existence.

But despite their difficult subject matter, these resilient poems sing with love. Singularly thoughtful and characterized by Keith’s lush lyricism, this collection demonstrates the tenacity and tenderness needed to build “harbor, shelter, home, house” against all odds.

Publish Date
8.5 × 5.5 × 0.25 in
7 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

  • “What a marvelous and singular book: of love lyrics, narratives, conversations, fables, aphorisms, abandoned drafts, journal entries of everyday family life, all permeated by the strange and symbolic, all woven together in a beautiful fugue. The mind that moves through these poems, wondering, mourning, treasuring, recording what night says, is precisely the humbly brilliant, attentive, wry, weird friend you wish for in the world, and can only find in true poetry.”

    Matthew Zapruder
    author of Story of a Poem
  • Two of Everything is about waiting. When you wait for something for a long time, something that might not come, time gets strange: it becomes a plastic ham, a tennis lob that never drops, a dream baby in a sandwich bag. I love how Sally Keith parcels out time. And I love how the poems don’t imagine adoption as happily-ever-after. If she gets to be a mother, this speaker will never be the Only mother. There will always be another, the first, who, despite best intentions, agreements made and kept, might ‘regret all of it, every bit.’ What a possibility! It haunts the book, but it doesn’t foreclose love. In fact, it allows love—and beauty, and humor.”

    Joy Katz
    author of All You Do Is Perceive
  • “Look. First things first, this book is a page-turner. I mean it! Two of Everything. Of choices. Of desires. Of possibilities and heartbreaks. How does one even know what to hope for? And what does it mean when a dream comes true and then there’s a whole other world of choices ahead of us? What’s love? What if you never get what you want while you’re getting exactly what you asked for? Or not. I sat and read and read and then reread. This book is many books. Many lives. It’s brave. It’s brave to hope and talk about it. What’s important and not been said before in a book of poems? This. I think this is it.”

    Gabrielle Calvocoressi
    author of Rocket Fantastic