Forthcoming March 2023
Stephen F Austin University Press
FIGHT or FLIGHT artifacts the trauma of McFadyen-Ketchum's divorce after ten years of marriage and the journey he took across the wilds of America (living in a twelve-person tent on the California coast, getting intentionally lost in the Utah desert, tracking wild animals in the bitter cold of Indiana winters) in search of healing that led to the greatest discovery of all: his indigenous wife and her three indigenous children he now calls his own.
What People Are Saying...
"FIGHT or FLIGHT is an ode to optimism. A meeting with grace. A mending of the heart. A remedy for wounds. A song of liberty. And a dedication to love. McFadyen-Ketchum possesses the soul of a philosopher, the heart of a poet, and the eye of a naturalist. Calling out to the natural world for guidance, he writes what may be the book's conceit, Why must I wake? / Why must I dream? and then turns her throaty answer into poetry for all of us to experience. This book is a second coming-of-age, a victory, and a must-read for anyone trying to make sense of the cruel and beautiful, and sometimes unexplainable that we call life." -CMarie Fuhrman
"Besides its succinct and agile depictions of boyhood, natural landscapes, domestic unease, and shattered love, this third book by Andrew McFayden-Ketchum is noteworthy for its candid conveyance of a man's deep longing for children in the aftermath of an upending divorce. How the speaker resolves that anguished desire for fatherhood via newfound love and acquired family makes FIGHT or FLIGHT especially poignant and satisfying." -Cyrus Cassells
"I read FIGHT or FLIGHT in one wide-eyed-and-wondrously-rapt sitting, but that doesn’t mean I won’t return often to this miraculously uplifting book of lost and found romantic and familial love. McFadyen-Ketchum’s soul-lifting poems are flooded with bird song, hoodoos, planets, leaping spiders, coyotes, and watchful crows, to name a few. What begins as a desperate, desolate solo camping trip ends with a new love’s “hand / Pressed hard / To this pained man’s heart.” With their foxglove, star-nosed moles, and glowing snakes, these poems will fill you with renewed reverence for worldly and celestial splendors. McFadyen-Ketchum takes us on an unforgettable journey from despair to joy, from utter aloneness to a life teeming with love and light." -Martha Silano
Read a selection of poems here: