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Letters to Forget

Letters to Forget

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THIS BOOK IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER ONLY. PLEASE PLACE PREORDERS AS SEPARATE ORDERS FROM ITEMS YOU WOULD LIKE FULFILLED IMMEDIATELY. ITEMS ORDERED WITH PREORDER BOOKS WILL BE HELD UNTIL THE PREORDER IS AVAILABLE FOR FULFILLMENT. 

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 3, 2024

By Kelly Caldwell

The debut of Kelly Caldwell, written from within the darkness of bipolar illness and the longing to claim her womanhood

“There can be no history of my body. My forgetfulness is in earnest. I check for it like for keys in a pocket. I’ve remained a girl all my life.”


With searing intelligence and great sensitivity, the poems of Kelly Caldwell—many addressed to the poet Cass Donish, her partner in the years before Caldwell’s suicide at age thirty-one—swim through a complex matrix of transformations: mental illness, divorce, gender transition, and self-discovery. But they wrestle, too, with the poet’s painful relationships with her family of Christian missionaries, who never affirmed her identity. In the sequence of “dear c.” poems scattered throughout these pages, Caldwell writes letters to her lover from an out-of-state residential hospital where she is receiving treatment for suicidal depression and mania. In a long poem titled “Self-Portrait as Job,” she offers us her lucid gaze and her queer take on the biblical figure—an understated yet powerful testament to her own suffering in a society whose structures may not contain her.

Both striking and elusive, both raw and learned, with a delicacy of syntax that challenges us to interrogate becoming itself, Kelly Caldwell asks: What kind of fragile agency is at the heart of obliterating change?

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