Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mini Review: Designated Mourner

Title: Designated Mourner
Author: Catherine Owen
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: April 15th 2014
Source: Netgalley & ECW Press


Four stars.


This is going to be an incredibly hard book for me to try to review. Typically, I don't read poetry. Well, that's not entirely true. I don't read contemporary, new poetry. However, I was drawn into this collection first by the macabre cover, and then by the dark themes that it holds within it. It is definitely an emotionally charged book of poetry that will linger even when you are done reading it.

Designated Mourner is a collection of poems written to a spouse who was killed far too early by an addiction to drugs. The poems are dark and contemplative, reflective and sometimes even celebratory of their life. I don't want to say that I enjoyed reading them, because I feel that in a book of mourning, that is a bit too light of a word choice. I will say that I connected to them, having lost friends to addiction myself. My poetry of grief was never as powerful or gripping as these ones are.

If you are one who enjoys poetry or one who has recently lost a loved one, I think that Designated Mourner is a collection of poems that you should take your time mentally ingesting the words that Catherine Owen has so carefully penned. Allow yourself to take breaks when you need them and prepare to be stirred by them. Thank you to ECW Press and Netgalley for the chance to read this poetry collection.


  1. I would love to have this book for myself, the cover and title caught my eye when I saw this review and your words convince me that this is a book I must have on my shelf.