In the Wake of Home
poems by Christian McEwen
Christian McEwen was born in London, England in 1956, and grew up in the Borders of Scotland. She has edited four anthologies, including Naming the Waves: Contemporary Lesbian Poetry, and Jo’s Girls: Tomboy Tales of High Adventure, True Grit & Real Life. Her poems and essays have been published in The Granta Book of the Family, Virago New Poets, and My Lover is a Woman: Contemporary Lesbian Love Poems, as well as in numerous other journals and anthologies. McEwen has been a fellow at the Yaddo and Macdowell colonies. She teaches poetry through the Creative Arts in Learning program at Lesley University, and divides her time between Scotland and Vermont.
In poems that search, name, nab, and unsettle, Christian McEwen excavates loss-—and discovers evidence of love. Many of the poems make poignant use of the rich iambic throb and dangerous lilt of nursery rhyme, while others follow instinct and let mystery do the singing. A toddler left to a “hot smear of sunlight,” a woman watching her hands “like other people’s children,” another crying “Give me the bloody lunch that is your heart”—I am grateful for these voices’ testimony, fierce and gentle.
—Ellen Doré Watson
In the Wake of Home is a volume of acute tenderness: for a father’s drinking, a sister’s death by drowning, a brother’s suicide, a lover found and lost, and above all for the vulnerable child self that remains alive in the grown woman who seeks “a way to praise.” With a deft music at times lyric, at times analytic, mordant and comic, Christian McEwen’s poetry touches what’s most inward in us.