Jesse Lee Kercheval is a poet, writer, and translator, specializing in Uruguayan poetry. She is the author of America that island off the coast of France and Dog Angel and the translator of Love Poems by Idea Vilariño and The Invisible Bridge: Selected Poems of Circe Maia. A bilingual Spanish-English edition of her selected poems, La crisis es el cuerpo, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, was published in Argentina and is forthcoming in Mexico. She is also the author of the Alex Award–winning memoir Space and the short story collection Underground Women.
In Jesse Lee Kercheval’s sixth collection, I Want to Tell You, her searching, incantatory poems speak directly and forcefully to the reader in a voice that is by turns angry, elegiac, wry, or witty but always sharply alive. Crossing through the bewildering territory of grief, Kercheval argues with god and the universe about the deaths of people she loves. She also writes movingly about the complications of family life and love, the messy puzzle of life itself.
SAY THE WORD, BLISS
when the gaudy sun routs
drawn back from window after window
to let the morning in
& night has yet to be imagined
esse Lee Kercheval writes with wit, vivid language, and devastating honesty in these autobiographical poems. Tracing the timelines of her life forward and backward, she offers a moving examination of the role of family and the possible/probable/hoped for existence of God—and how our perceptions of the divine can be transformed from a kindergartner’s dyslexically scrawled “doG loves U” to the ever-present but oft-ignored Dog Angel of the title. Ranging from a cross-country drive to bury her mother’s ashes at Arlington National Cemetery, to a family vacation in Spain, to an imagined final exam given by her children, Kercheval explores the vagaries of love, loss, faith, grief, and joy with a calm, convincing wisdom that permeates this resonant and wonderful collection.