Loving the Dying

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Pub Date 01 Sep 2023 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2023

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Description

Loving the Dying is a collection of poems on life’s different stages. Set against the backdrop of a conflicted society, Len Verwey looks at a person’s life from youth and growing up to aging and dying, considering what the ineluctable reality of death might imply about how we should think about our lives.

These are poems of uncertainty rather than certainty. The more overtly biographical ones end with as many questions as they start with, and there is often sympathy for the outsider or the marginalized voice. Varying in tone and complexity, Verwey’s poems focus on the tension between escapism and reality, truth and delusion (for individuals and societies), and the need to face death if we are to care for the aged and learn to understand the process of dying.

As in his first poetry collection, In a Language That You Know, Verwey continues his effort to understand the successes and failures of the South African post-apartheid journey, with both humor and some despair.
 
Loving the Dying is a collection of poems on life’s different stages. Set against the backdrop of a conflicted society, Len Verwey looks at a person’s life from youth and growing up to aging and...

A Note From the Publisher

African Poetry Book Series

African Poetry Book Series


Advance Praise

“This is a brilliant, contemplative, passionate collection. Rich with ‘un-’ words—unreceiving, unanswered, undone—it leads us into the unknowable, invents a new country. A poetry of the afterwards, the collection reaches past ‘unconfronted shadows’ and ‘old acrimonies’ and ultimately toward love. No simple tenderness, this love, but schooled in a long knowing, finally earning the coming of ‘something almost imperceptible, unforced, unbidden’ that reveals ‘the wilder wonder of all.’”—Gabeba Baderoon, author of A Hundred Silences and The History of Intimacy

“This is a brilliant, contemplative, passionate collection. Rich with ‘un-’ words—unreceiving, unanswered, undone—it leads us into the unknowable, invents a new country. A poetry of the afterwards...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781496234681
PRICE $17.95 (USD)
PAGES 48

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Average rating from 15 members


Featured Reviews

"Loving the Dying" by Len Verwey is an impactful collection of poems exploring life's journey in all its stages. Through a lens of uncertainty, Verwey thoughtfully addresses societal margins, post-apartheid South Africa, and the inescapable reality of death. His stream-of-consciousness writing style and diverse poem lengths create a vivid tapestry of experiences and memories. Standout poems "Survivors" and "Loving The Dying" encapsulate the collection's focus on mortality and empathy. Echoing his earlier work, this anthology balances humor with despair, making it a must-read for those seeking profound, thought-provoking poetry. Thanks to Len Verwey and the University of Nebraska Press for a free e-ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Closer to a 3.5. There were some poems I really appreciated here, but overall the collection felt a little scattered and more stream-of-consciousness than I tend to prefer. I want poetry to feel like a layered gut-punch of recognition or insight or interrogation, and most of the entries here felt forgettable or unimpactful. There were still moments where I appreciated Verwey's observations, reflections, and use of structure. I think this is mostly an issue of the collection not being to my personal taste. It's worth a read!

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I have read another installment in the African Poetry Book Series and I wanted to read more so I requested an ARC of Loving the Dying. This short volume contains a lot of references to things that I didn't quite understand, but I found them packed full of grief and hardship. I'm not sure if this collection is going to be one that sticks with me for a long time. The only poem that I find myself thinking about from time to time is the titular one, but I think this is more my failing than the poet's.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this collection, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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On one hand, this poetry collection is quite brief, but I think that works in its favor, since each of the poems within orbits the themes of death and unavoidable tragedy. The language is clear and accessible, and many of the images described in each poem are vivid enough to stick with me. Verwey doesn't rely much on rigid poetic structure, but there's something mournful in this collection that still doesn't give up on hope.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this chapbook; I'm leaving this review of my own volition.

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The individual poems were quite interesting, but there wasn't a strong sense of a shared message or them building to something, which I typically expect with a poetry collection.

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Len Verwey is a fantastic verse voice, with accessible language, inviting stanzas, and resonant topics. A delightful collection for those who love the literary.

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This was a pretty accessible poetry collection as it has a more free form structure and style. Many of the poems seemed almost like having a conversation with the reader which worked well considering the emotional subject matter of most of these poems. The collection as a whole explores belonging, nostalgia, mourning, and displacement. The details certainly invoke strong intensive imagery that has helped the standouts in this collection stick with me. Of course, some poems resonated more than others. I do wish some of the shorter poems had been expanded upon because I could see the potential, but just didn’t have more to attach onto. This is a poet I will certainly read more from in the future!

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Did not resonate

Loving The Dying is a poetry collection that is a part of the African Poetry Book Series. There are overarching themes that highlight what can be the darker transitions that occur in life: aging, dying, and the need to face death if we are to care for our people who are transitioning. The poems are short and mostly biographical and to be honest in many respects went over my head, reminding me that poetry can very much be a very personal thing.

Thank you to University Of Nebraska Press and NetGalley for the gifted copy!

Loving The Dying releases on September 1, 2023

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I’ve been a fan of the other chapbooks put out by the African Poetry Book Series and I wanted to give this collection a try! I’m so glad I did! It’s a short collection but deeply touching in the way it discusses loving in the face of certain death (as we all do). I found the title poem “Loving The Dying” very touching as well as the poems “The Duration” and “Trumpet”! Definitely enjoyed this and I’m excited to see what else Len Verwey writes in the future.

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I always have a problem reading poems.
But this book intrigues me.
I won't say I can relate to all the chapters, but it's enjoyable to read it in a nice afternoon.

Thanks, NetGalley and the author, for an ARC.

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Overall I enjoyed this poetry collection. I liked that the poems seemed to be structured as if the narrator were having a conversation with the reader, which is something that I like. I loved the exploration of nostalgia, mourning, and displacement.

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