Watch the release at Parnassus Books
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.
Watch Andrew read at the Scarritt Bennet Center below
Read a selection of poems from FIGHT or FLIGHT below
What People Are Saying...
"In FIGHT or FLIGHT, McFadyen-Ketchum has delivered something rare: a voice that’s honest and clear, grim and grateful. Thudding in the background of these pages is the ancient beat of the natural world — its calls and movements, its hills and howls, its ephemerality and permanence — that offers us retreat and gives us hope for renewal.--KEN ILGUNAS, author of Walden on Wheels and Trespassing Across America: One Man's Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland
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, author of Camping Beneath the Dam and editor of Native Voices and Cascadia: A Field Guide Through Art, Ecology, & Poetry
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, 2021 Texas Poet Laureate
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, Gravity Assist and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception