The Summer of Dead Birds

The Summer of Dead Birds


Ali Liebegott
A poet documents depression and grief in this autobiographical novel-in-verse.

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Paperback Edition
ISBN: 9781936932504
Publication Date: 03-12-2019

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how does a person dislodge the scenes
that burn inside them like arsoned cars?

Ali Liebegott is reeling from a fresh, painful divorce. She wallows in grief and overassigns meaning to everyday circumstance, clinging to an aging Dalmatian and obsessing over dead birds. Going through the motions of teaching and walking her dog, she eventually decides to hit the road: Ali and Rorschach at the Center of the World.

This autobiographical novel-in-verse is a chronicle of mourning and survival, documenting depression and picking apart failed intimacy. But Ali Liebegott’s poetry is laced with compassion, for herself and the reader and the world, as she learns to balance the sting of death with the tender strangeness of life. 

"Ali Liebegott is a pillar of queer poetry, and her new collection solidifies why. It’s a potent little meditation on grief. Gorgeous and raw. . . . Liebegott’s poetry is deeply affecting and utterly readable. For such a fast read, The Summer of Dead Birds lingers for a long time." Rewire

“Liebegott’s The Summer of Dead Birds is a must-read. Read it twice: drink it down the first time in one sitting, and then slowly take it in again." Paperback Paris

“A meditation on grief and loss with a good dose of humor, shaped with beautiful cadence and structure.” Los Angeles Review of Books

“A near mythic journey into life-stopping loss: a howl, and a hymn to what’s mortal.” —Marie Howe, author of Magdalene: Poems

“A fierce, funny, agonized, cracked-open aria in homage to the presence and passing of fiercely loved things.” —Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts 

“Sweet and so sad, and the writing’s perfect.” —Eileen Myles, author of I Must Be Living Twice

“A chronicle of grief & its animals—the birds our cities kill, the dogs who are our best friends, the lovers we can’t keep, the strange beauty of a mother’s death, the strange translation of all of death’s old meanings in a time of mass extinction.” —Ariana Reines, author of A Sand Book

“Full of wry heartbreak and sweet, sad humor; righteous fury and tender grief.” —Michelle Tea, author of Modern Tarot

“A linked sequential lyric memoir balancing aphoristic ingenuity, deadpan irreverence, and the deep interior exploration of the soul.” —sam sax, author of Madness

"A deeply considered, sometimes irreverent meditation on the end of life, as well as the attempts to survive some of the little deaths we endure along the way." —Stacey Lewis, City Lights Bookstore

“A long aria of loss.” BUST

“An often-sweet, often-startling autobiographical novel-in-verse about going through a divorce and the death of a loved one—meditating on life’s big and small losses, and the ways the universe at once reminds us of and assuages those losses.” O, The Oprah Magazine

“This remarkable novel-in-verse reads like a meticulously fabricated miniature, an object whose small size and great care of assembly never let readers lose sight of its loving artificiality—its existence as a crafted object.” —Poetry Foundation

Interested in reading this book with a group? Download group discussion questions for Summer of Dead Birds here!