25 Points: Burial

by Claire Donato
Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2013
104 pages / $14.00 buy from Tarpaulin Sky








1. For reasons both Biblical and practical, we must “let go the dead.” But “persons never completely let go the dead.”

2. The main characters of Donato’s debut never leave the side of the dead. Father, dead, belongs here. The unnamed woman is describing as checking-in to the morgue. She’s there to stay, also, for a while.

3. Burial is concerned with the strangeness of death, something lost in its ubiquity, until we see it close. At another funeral near the start of the book, the congregation is described as “yawning, unable to recognize the weight of the ghost.” Mouths open, they might as well have been singing.

4. Donato’s heavy usage of commas, in the vein of Peter Markus (We Make Mud) and William Gass (“The Pedersen Kid”) before her, is almost a way of stalling all death.

5. Father is dead. His capitalized self stands like a tree amongst the brush of other words.

6. “Father was a man. He taught lessons in his language, and also raised his voice. ‘A lovely day to go fishing,’ he said. ‘The water is frozen,’ he said. Then he drowned in the lake.”

7. Burial is a grief-dream, an attempt to un-sew pain from experience and to reveal it in language.

8. “Mind’s a confused, tangled skein.” Particularly when it is pulled by pain.

9. “And the doe—the poor, female doe—collapsed at the scene. Two cracks rang out. He shot her. He shot her dead. ‘A lovely day to go fishing,’ he said, yet before he could indulge in his reward—field dress the damn deer and pay tribute to his success, his all-time best, grand aptitude for chase—he drowned in the lake.” Father’s final moments return, as grief does, often in different permutations. What’s the point of language if it can’t unmake and remake?

10. There is the woman, and Father, and Groundskeeper, who “kneels beside her bright yellow bucket,” and is the keeper and cleaner of these dead. READ MORE >

July 11th, 2013 / 12:09 pm