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Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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The Birthday of the Dead

ISBN: 9781733602075
Binding: Paperback
Author: Rachel Abramowitz
Pages: 68
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 03/31/2022

Winner of the Fourth Annual Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize

A deft reimagination of the fable, The Birthday of the Dead is dark, rich, and immediately accessible, capable of conjuring tears, laughs, and both earth-shattering and life-affirming revelations. Selected by Bob Hicok, The Birthday of the Dead won the fourth annual Marystina Santiestevan First Book Prize.

Debut collection of poems that is stark, bleak, funny, bizarre, lacerating, totemic, intimate, dark, raw-boned, metal, viscerality, play, violence, constellate, rather than say speaks through and for, rather than discloses, performs rather than knows.


Rachel Abramowitz is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Oxford. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine Wave Composition, an intern at the Paris Review, a stock analyst (for three months), and has taught English Literature at The University of Iowa, the University of Oxford, and most recently at Barnard College in New York. She is currently based in Brooklyn.


"In lyrics 'smooth as doves,' Rachel Abramowitz sings of our fallen world, its forgotten seedpods and smoldering fires, and the terrible, steaming coats of ancient wolves, unearthed from glacier-melt. These haunting poems witness the kinetic ever-presence of the dead: 'their tentacles curl and wave, tighten and drop' until '[t]here is nothing to be done.' Still, Abramowitz's keen poetic intelligence finds wonder in the luminosity of the moon, in dew drops and foxgloves, and in the 'rich scraps' of wisdom salvaged, as if by magic, from grief's edge. The Birthday of the Dead is a work of astonishment and pure energy." - Kiki Petrosino

"Are there two kinds of people – those who'd run from a book of poems that begins with the severed head of a wolf and those who'd eagerly turn the page? I think there's one kind of person who should read this book for the joy of unsmall rabbits at dusk and endless rivers that end at the bottom of the sea and giraffes that dare for the upper leaf: you. After which your life will be divided into before and after Rachel Abramowitz's poems." - Bob Hicok