Love is complicated, and Chris Pannell has captured the sharp pain and deep affection of a son for his parents as they age and slip away from him. In lines that are clear, honest and specific, he unpacks the family histories that bind him to his past. From corgis to seafaring uncles to Christmas trees, he charts the path of his parents' descent, with the heartbreaking question of his mother ringing in our ears, asking him, and all of us, "Christopher, are you going to take me home?"
Along with love and loss, this is a book about our own aging. Our own, inevitable, death. Pannell writes of seeing close friends die unexpectedly, watching elderly couples as they travel together. He considers wheelchairs, walkers, lost memories and rests for a few moments in the contemplation of great art. Pannell details it all unsparingly, but with a great humanity. The ocean is crossed and recrossed, the LPs are sorted and disposed of, and in the end the stars hold his fear.
Chris Pannell's previous collection, A Nervous City, won the Hamilton Arts Council's Kerry Schooley Award. Another book, Drive, received the Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry and the Arts Hamilton Award for Best Poetry Book of the Year. His other books include Under Old Stars, Everything Comes from Above and Sorry I Spent Your Poem. From 1993 until 2005 he ran the New Writing Workshop at Hamilton Artists Inc. and edited two book-length anthologies for the group. He has been published in literary magazines internationally. He lives in Hamilton.
"The poems are a finely balanced dialogue between empathy and detachment. Death is shockingly extraordinary, yet banal, common. Although everyone is born with a life sentence, the endings are as variable as punctuation marks." - Northumberland Today
"I read Pannell's new book and found his words deepy moving." - The Hamilton Spectator
"Also impressive last night was Chris Pannell, who conveyed a series of grief-laden pieces with aching clarity." - Now Magazine