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“James Connolly is a poet of courage and craft. He tells secrets. He tells the truth. He is the most honest man in the village. With clarity and integrity, he speaks of alcoholism, madness, suicide, abuse, fallen priests, and grandfathers and revolutionaries. Above all, he writes about the rituals of death, for he is intimate with these rituals. James Connolly grew up in a family of undertakers; his narratives about this way of life and death are, in a word, unforgettable, a muted cry of pain and compassion for both the living and the dead. Six Feet Under this isn’t. It is, however, poetry. Connolly writes poems jeweled with sparkling images and finely wrought diction. His eye is exact—he seems to miss nothing—and he refuses to look away. He also refuses despair: These are ultimately poems of bruised survival and indelible memory, as in the poem “Last Summer,” where a girl who escapes drowning walks the beach calling to her dead companions."

—Martin Espada

About the Author

James Connolly taught at Milton Academy and lives with his wife, Sandra, in Brockton, Massachusetts.