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In each issue of BUST, Amber Tamblyn reviews a book of poetry. From our August/September 2018 issue, here's her review of How To Love The Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz:

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s stunning book of poetry, How to Love the Empty Air, explores great loss at the height of great success and how we cope not only with the unexpected absence of a life, but also with the endured memories of death. In “Nine Months After,” Aptowicz writes: “In the Q&A, someone asks me/who is my biggest influence./My mother is my greatest influence, I say,/She is the reason I am a writer./Even nine months after, I can’t do it:/talk about you in the past tense./I have grown to love performing/that poem I wrote about you, because/for that moment I can stand in a room full/of people who don’t know you’re dead.” Aptowicz writes about losing her mother very suddenly while her personal and writing lives are flourishing—an experience that left her at once devastated and illuminated, reeling from shock and relinquishing herself to the tenderness of new love. These heart-cracking poems humble and haunt the reader, reminding us that with every fall life hands us, a rise awaits us on the other side.


By Amber Tamblyn

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!


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