In a collection of poems that is part biography, part dialogue, part history and part chorale, The Lesser Tragedy of Death aims to capture the ephemeral, brutal life of one unnamed "brother." His sister's voice provides the narrative thrust--probing, questioning, regretful--revisiting scenes from their past and arguing with her brother over the family legacy and her complicity in his demise.
What happened that led this gentle, generous boy to a world of drugs, homelessness, and crime? What upheavals, personal and political, spun their lives in such radically different directions? Who bears responsibility? The sister tries to piece together their stories from discordant shards, hearsay, speculation, witnessing. Her reports are contested by the brother, corroborated by unreliable others, undermining the nature of inquiry itself.
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April 30, 2010
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