Shortlisted, Next Generation Indie Book Award
Heart-corroding sex with a tin woodman. A foundering marriage like a cat on the brink of death that still manages to purr. Sharon McCartney's visceral exploration of relationships — how they begin and end, the tenuous threads that hold people together, and the events that can tear them apart — is unstinting, eyes-wide-open aware. Beginnings, endings, transitions: none elude the sometimes sardonic but always sinuous language of these finely wrought poems.
"You don't read these poems, you feel them: hammer in the head, shod foot on the throat, stiletto in the heart. It's those combos of wild, piercing insights (or unusual but poignant images); yep, that's what makes it good for you — or kills you, laughing."
"Darkly obsessive, For and Against documents the rolling flux of life — the raw wounds of relationships in moments that are, in turn, anguished, edgy, droll, and affectionate. McCartney's poems are an extreme sport — one well worth playing."
"McCartney is tough. She doesn't feel the obligation to rise above a heart-wrenching experience, to find a bright side, or to soften her bitterness... These are poems for feeling bad and liking it; not for regretting the vile things you've said and done, but for regretting that you now, alas, know better than to say or do them."
"McCartney has shown a delightful felicity in previous books with stapling phrases into the memory. For and Against expands this strength with different material, and it's a testament to her talent that rawness isn't diminished by an attention to fluency."