‘In McCrae’s hands, poetry is reclamation. It is also transport: writing a way out and through’ Kate Kellaway, Guardian
‘Confirms McCrae as one of the most erudite and inventive poets of our time’ Kit Fan, Guardian
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 recreate images of our shared and specific pasts, McCrae writes into and through the wounds that we remember and ‘strains toward a vision of joy’ (Will Brewbaker, the 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.’