[04/05/2022] Cain Named the Animal by Shane McCrae
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, hardcover
Publication Date: April 5, 2022
Publisher Marketing: A prophetic new collection of poems from Shane McCrae, “a shrewd composer of American stories” (Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker).
Writing you I give the death I take
I know I should feel wounded by your death
I write to you to make a wound write back
Shane McCrae fashions a world of endings and infinites in Cain Named the Animal. With cyclical, rhythmic lines that create and re-create images of our shared and specific pasts, he writes into and through the wounds that we remember and “strains toward a vision of joy” (Will Brewbaker, Los Angeles Review of Books).
Cain Named the Animal expands upon the biblical, heavenly world that McCrae has been building throughout his previous collections; he writes of Eden, of the lost tribe that watched time enter the garden and God rehearse the world, and of the cartoon torments of hell. Yet for McCrae, these outer bounds of our universe are inseparable from the lives and deaths on Earth, from the mundanities and miracles of time passing and people growing up, growing old, and growing apart. As he writes, “God first thought time itself / Was flawed but time was God’s first mirror.”