Opening the Mouth of the Dead by Catherine Woodard, graduate, MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School.

Lone Goose Press, 2017

cover-198x300From the Publisher: "The word for house and tomb is the same," writes Catherine Woodard in her first full-length poetry collection, OPENING THE MOUTH OF THE DEAD. The story in poems is published by lone goose press in two editions: paperback and limited-edition book art. The central character is a third-grade girl growing up in 1960s North Carolina who uses the ancient Egyptian BOOK OF THE DEAD to navigate her complicated relationship with her father. She struggles to reconcile her heart with her brain in a family where her father grapples with alcoholism and depression. "Not only is the heart still needed, it's still dangerous," writes Woodard about mummies. "The brain is useless, removed and discarded." The separation of brain and heart confuses and worries the narrator as she pores over pictures and spells in the BOOK OF THE DEAD for clues to help her father. Woodard shows a family longing for connection and forgiveness while dealing with grief.