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If You Have to Go

If You Have to Go

by Katie Ford


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The transformative new book from “one of the most important American poets at work today” (Dunya Mikhail)

I am content because before me looms the hope of love.

I do not have it; I do not yet have it.

It is a bird strong enough to lead me by the rope it bites;

unless I pull, it is strong enough for me.

I do worry the end of my days might come and I will not yet have it. But even then I will be brave

upon my deathbed, and why shouldn’t I be?

I held things here, and I felt them.

—From “Psalm 40”

The poems in Katie Ford’s fourth collection implore their audience—the divine and the human—for attention, for revelation, and, perhaps above all, for companionship. The extraordinary sequence at the heart of this book taps into the radical power of the sonnet form, bending it into a kind of metaphysical and psychological outcry. Beginning in the cramped space of selfhood—in the bedroom, cluttered with doubts, and in the throes of marital loss—these poems edge toward the clarity of “what I can know and admit to knowing.” In song and in silence, Ford inhabits the rooms of anguish and redemption with scouring exactness. This is poetry that “can break open, // it can break your life, it will break you // until you remain.” If You Have to Go is Ford’s most luminous and moving collection.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781555978112
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Pages: 72
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Katie Ford is the author of three previous poetry collections: Blood Lyrics, Colosseum, and Deposition. The recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Levis Reading Prize, she teaches at the University of California, Riverside.

Read an Excerpt


In the Hearth
The Addresses

I make my bed every morning.


Excerpted from "If You Have to Go"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Katie Ford.
Excerpted by permission of GRAYWOLF PRESS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

I In the Hearth 3

II The Addresses 7

III Psalm 40 53

IV The Ready Heart 57

Iridescent Lake 58

Triolet with Two at the Hill 60

You Occurred to Me 61

All I Ever Wanted 62

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