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November 09 , 2009

The Language of Grief


"The Language of Grief," a collection of poems in seven parts, took its author seven years to complete. The poems chronicle the sudden loss of his father to illness and the subsequent effect the loss had on his family, community, and psyche. As Gallo-Brown writes in the introduction, "This is a story about grief. There are exhortations of love here and gasps of fear, flashes of self-discovery followed by descents into confusion and rage." His lyrical, often darkly humorous poems show the ways that grief can shatter us – and ways we put ourselves back together.

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Alex Gallo-Brown was born and raised in Seattle and holds a BFA in creative writing from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Rumpus, Salon, The Nervous Breakdown, The Collagist, Everyday Genius, The Monarch Review, and elsewhere. He has worked as a labor organizer, a caregiver for people with disabilities, and a farmhand, among other occupations. He lives in Atlanta. Find him at

Praise for The Language of Grief

"Alex Gallo-Brown's poems are the sad and beautiful tales of a lost son, lost father, and, yes, lost generation. But these poems are fun and smart. I love them."
– Sherman Alexie, winner of the National Book Award

"The poet has lost his father, and the baffling, overwhelming grief is the sustained bass note under these songs of innocence and experience. To have arrived at his level of control while writing of a great blow, as well as of the uncontrollable plagues of youth—feverish loneliness, ecstasy shading into disillusion—is remarkable."
– Valerie Trueblood, author of Search Party and Marry or Burn

"Grief isn't always about death, rather it's a fundamental part of living a rich, meaningful life. Alex Gallo-Brown understands this on a deep level, and his masterful, lyrical poems convey the sad beauty of letting go."
– Claire Bidwell Smith, author of The Rules of Inheritance

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