The Life


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About the Author

Carrie Fountain's poems have appeared in Tin House, Poetry, and The New Yorker, among others. She is the author of the poetry collections Burn Lake, a National Poetry Series winner, and Instant Winner, along with the young adult novel I'm Not Missing. Born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico, Fountain received her MFA as a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Currently writer in residence at St. Edward's University, she lives in Austin with her husband, playwright and novelist Kirk Lynn, and their two children.


Praise for The Life:

"Fountain's poems are [...] beloved for their warmth and intimacy . . . Her work is lyrical and relevant." -The Washington Post

"Fleeting, wondrous, clear." -Ms. Magazine

"I write to you about The Life with tear tracks on my cheeks. Not even old ones, because every time I look back at one of the pieces that make up Carrie Fountain's third collection of poetry, the whole process starts anew . . . Fountain is skillfully tying minute, personal experiences to our biggest quandaries about human nature to devastating effect . . . I'm very grateful to Fountain for finally bursting the stormcloud hovering above me. It's a long-awaited rain." -Rosalind Faires, Austin Chronicle

"Spectacular . . . reveals a young mother's cluttered life and a glimmering world of faith shaken, stirred, and movingly reaffirmed . . . Every poem is a marvel of craft; Fountain displays exquisite judgment, with each image, figure, question, paradox, snippet of overheard conversation, and philosophical meditation finding its perfect place. The effect is quietly exhilarating. Humor and heartbreak intertwine . . . Through the alchemy of honest inquiry and clever wordplay [...] Fountain makes good on the transformative promise of poetry, 'making one/ thing become another' in this remarkable work." -Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"With its wonder at daily living, The Life lures you into its quiet world only to ignite in abundance, ferocity, and the aching truth of survival. Fountain's stunning poems illuminate the complexities of motherhood and marriage with a clear, lyrical voice that speaks to us all." -Ada Limon, author of The Carrying

"Life here has been caught, still squirming, on poet Fountain's lines. She lets her haul go, releases and casts another line, one after another, big and little fish, small or wild or turning lines. Each catch released as if the fisher forgot her hunger for a split second and it came back, ravenous for her. This poet's voice works the way any great art works: so beautiful it hurts maybe too much that it seems dangerous. But it's not like 'any great art'- it's this one book, this voice, this life, the only one we have. And this book changed it." -Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum

"As the poet herself (mother, teacher, partner, citizen) must, these poems begin in chaotic dailiness, then swerve into sudden clarity of attention. They stun with pleasurable, often funny, at times devastating recognition. A single life, of one struggling, searching being, becomes 'the' life: what is despite our differences common. We can all recognize each other and ourselves in these marvelous poems." -Matthew Zapruder, author of Father's Day

"Carrie Fountain has done it again-and again, I'm in awe, like a kid watching a magician and hoping to understand the tricks. How, reading this book, can I be so grounded in the life-its paper valentines, its grocery runs, its dead pet fish that 'flash like money one last time / before vanishing down the drain"-but also be taken elsewhere, beyond? In poems that explore motherhood, selfhood, marriage, faith and belief, and the deep loneliness of being human, Fountain celebrates love and family while also acknowledging that we are traveling alone toward wherever it is we are going: 'It is unbearable, and though / it is unbearable, I bear it.' Perhaps, as she writes, there is no such thing as perfect, only 'good enough,' but The Life seems evidence to the contrary. To me this book is perfect." -Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones and Keep Moving

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