Thomas Lynch’s fifth collection gathers together two dozen, 24-line poems – a book of hours – on the life and times of Argyle, a sin-eater, the figure who historically appeared at Irish funerals to eat bread and drink a bowl of beer, and so consume the sins of the deceased.
Set on the West Clare peninsula, where the author keeps an ancestral home, these poems explore the nature of religious experience, faith and doubt, communion and atonement. They are accompanied by 24 photographs and a watercolour by Lynch’s sons, Michael and Sean.
“A luminous, humane collection that sees religion as a question mark, not a period.”
Thomas Lynch is the author of four previous poetry collections. A book of stories, Apparition & Late Fictions, was published by Cape in 2010 to critical acclaim. His collection of essays The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade (1998), about being a funeral director, won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His work has been the subject of two documentaries: the Emmy Award-winning The Undertaking (2007) and the BBC film Learning Gravity (2008), awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore. He lives in Milford, Michigan.