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In Visiting Hours, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum’s words bear fierce witness to Mary, his beloved childhood friend who would grow up to “climb to the roof of one of Nashville’s buildings and vanish,” and we as readers bear witness to all the mystery that her life and death summon. In these pages we are able to traverse beyond the thin scrim that separates life and death, love and loss, and wonder and despair. Here is a book that is incantatory, where we journey, spellbound, through dream-like memories and richly imagined scenes alike. Here is a work full of startlingly marvelous images and here is a heart broken wide open.
--Lana K. W. Austin, Author of Like Light, Like Music, Blood Harmony, and In Search of the Wild Dulcimer.
Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum’s Visiting Hours is an elaborately layered and obsessive meditation on death, loss, and the remorse of a survivor. It is also a tribute and a cri de coeur to memory, to all that we remember, whether we want to or not. When the speaker calls out, “lost children . . . rise / From the river…” they ascend “in the form / Of fallen stars as they glide through the air to enter the geode / Singing from my palms in the mother tongue of the elements.” This book of poems suggests that in the face of a wound never to be recovered from, the only response is incantation, examination, and song, and that such a response may be the only way to redemption.
--Robert Wrigley, author of Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems
Visiting Hours is a work of startling truth and fearless imagination. In his second collection, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum offers a profoundly moving exploration of a suicide that divides the world and the self into before and after. The speaker asks, “By day does it speak, /Soft mumblings of the grief we carry inside us, /This grief having dropped yet again from its dark nest?” In the wake of suicide, survivors carry their deep grief forever. And yet this book of lyric meditations bears witness to not only loss but to the power of memory, joy and grace.
--Nicole Cooley, author of Resurrection, Breach, Milk Dress, and Of Marriage
Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum’s much-awaited second collection, Visiting Hours, is an elegy to a childhood love lost to suicide at the age of nineteen. Because all elegies are love poems, these poems push the limits of the elegiac form, searching with a lover’s insistence for an adequate container for this unfathomable grief. Writing at the height of his narrative and lyrical powers from his beloved hometown of Nashville, McFadyen-Ketchum weaves an intricate tapestry from the particulars of loss, childhood memories, and intimate musings on time and death. The result is a beautiful and piercing portrait of a survivor’s grief, of one who is not content with easy consolations yet cannot keep from "singing . . . in the mother tongue of the elements/guided by the promise of a better place not so wet/and dark and cold...”
--Angela Narciso Torres, author of Blood Orange and What Happens Is Neither