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The Story of Ash by Gerry Lafemina


How rare it is for any poet to write with equal parts gravitas and scherzo and Gerry LaFemina’s The Story of Ash is rich in both. The title poem tells us “It was the Chinese who first made ink from ash” and in the ink of these poems LaFemina gathers up the ashes of our crazy world: what’s left after conflagration, the cigarette burning in an ashtray, the gray smudge on the faces of coal miners, and “the thumbprint of the divine” on the first day of Lent. Richly descriptive, both haunted and haunting, The Story of Ash is a brilliant tragi-comedy in which memory is “the last shelter any of us have.”                 -- Maggie Anderson

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