In her debut full-length poetry collection, Andrea Scarpino’s elegies move between personal and political loss, between science, myth, and spirituality, and between lyric intensity and narrative clarity. At their heart is a longing for those we have lost, and an acknowledgement that loss irrevocably changes us and what we understand of the world. Blending mythological figures such as Persephone and Achilles, scientific approaches to knowledge learned from her microbiologist father, and a deep ambivalence regarding religious ideas of death and afterlife, Scarpino’s poems invite us to examine the world, our own place in it, and what to make of its continual collapse.
Praise for Once, Then
“Poetry never brings back those we’ve lost, but the best poems of mourning forge dignity in a newly emptied world. The craft, restraint, and lyric insistence of Andrea Scarpino’s poems give Once, Then an Orphic intensity. This book is gorgeous, and necessary.”—Don Bogen
“In these Orphic songs of grief, Andrea Scarpino honors those whose deaths break empathy wide open in us. Two very personal losses embark Scarpino on a lyrical underworld journey, where she traverses the atrocities we know as Hiroshima, Auschwitz, the Manson murders and others, in order to create her own ‘etymology of goodbye.’ With Once, Then, Andrea Scarpino balances private and public, the human and the mythic scale, thereby restoring our classical notion of the elegiac poem.”—Kathy Fagan, author of Lip