Sharon Chmielarz
The Widow's House

The Widow's House

Brighthorse Books, 2015

The Widow’s House isn’t only for widows or widowers. Its poems are windows onto the drama of grief and loss, like watching a character in a play. (“Reader, grief comes to each of us; here is how it played out in the life of one person. How does it resemble your experience?”) In the book’s last section the grief evens out; those poems can be read simply for themselves though the shadow of loss accompanies them.

Listen and read: “Fisher’s Club

Honors and Recognition

Kirkus Review’s Best Books of 2016
100 Best Indie Books of the Year
Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist 2015


“These are lovely poems. I have come to think of ‘widowness’ as transpersonal almost—it will strike those who are reckless enough to become wives and can recall so intensely the feeling of being in the hospital-vigil with an ending not yet known.” (Joyce Carol Oates, author of A Widow‘s Story)

“I love this book! It’s very moving and complex both. A fearless journey into the mystery of grief and love and loss. Her powers of observation are so accurate and careful … and tough.” (Jonis Agee, author of The Bones of Paradise)

“So many poems today say so much but I experience so little—I understand all right, but I don’t get pushed into second gear, don’t get moved into the feeling that is meant to be offered up, no rough leap into the world off the page. This leap happens in a poem like ‘On Green.’” (Alberto Ríos, author of A Small Story about the Sky)

“She knows how to take risks, how to deliver sharp pathos. … This eloquent book is her obligation to her beloved. She remembers. ‘Listen,’ she writes, ‘I am never lonely when I can imagine you.’ Perhaps this brave book saves her life.” (Michael Dennis Browne, author of The Voices)

“This honest and unflinching collection does not leave the reader without hope: ‘Right at the worst time of your life someone/helps you in some way,’ she writes. ‘You must take the least shred of it in,’ and she does.” (Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota Poet Laureate, author of Modern Love and Other Myths)