Poetry. Barbara Brackney’s LATE AUGUST is a searing and personal examination of the author’s life and death. Written during the late stages of terminal cancer, this book explores sex, death, poverty, and love through carefully crafted poems, each one a compelling and transcendent portrait. Brackney turns her unflinching attention to her upbringing in the deep south, her battle with alcoholism, her battle with cancer, and her discovery of love. “LATE AUGUST by Barbara Brackney does what great poetry should do: it elucidates our ephemeral human condition and brings us comfort. Her poems are clear, concise, intelligent indictments of death, illness, her own shortcomings, God, and everything in between. But they’re also exquisite and funny. She writes from a place where there’s nothing to hide, and reveals an unsentimental, eternal love for our lot”-Jennifer L. Knox.
“Brackney’s spare and honest work is beautifully powered by the cruel, churning motor of urgency. Balanced with deep breaths of acceptance and wonder, each poem serves as a postcard to the living, reminding the reader that death is as much a part of life as love, sex, and beauty. She asked, ‘May I leave this black?’ and the world answered Yes, but what remains is a recording of that black, a way through, a light.” – Ada Limón
Barbara Brackney spent her youth living in the deep south, California, and Europe. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan and resolved to make Ann Arbor her lifetime home. After graduation, she became a professor of psychology, had a clinical private practice and spent her free time traveling. In 1998, she retired quite early, eager to explore aspects of life that working precludes. One of these avenues was poetry, which opened up an exciting world of inner exploration. Barbara developed terminal cancer but this only fueled her desire to continue in her poetry quest. She died in 2007.