Go to the Living tells the story of a father and son navigating childhood and illness, both together and apart. A memoir that alternates between haibun, a Japanese form of travel prose, and free verse poems, Go to the Living introduces readers to Ezra, a singularly curious and kind boy, to the people who love him, and the places in the world changed by him.
Praise from High Places:
“In his evocative portrait of a complex, witty, intellectually precocious, and resilient boy, Chatterton teaches us what true courage is, what miracles love can and can’t perform. This original, deeply moving, and universal book is one that has forever altered my understanding of the complexity of human bonds.” – Maurya Simon, Author of The Raindrop’s Gospel: The Trials of St. Jerome & St. Paula
“The world trembles on.” Micah Chatterton writes toward the end of this amazing book of poems. But to move past seismic loss, to tremble along with the world, to cherish and understand life despite the specific immediacy of loss, takes exceptional craft and character. Go To The Living is such an achievement in art, in love–in the great skill and music of the voice, which, in its clarity, invention, and deep attention to life is redemptive for us all.” -Christopher Buckley, Author of Star Journal: Selected Poems
“Micah Chatterton’s beautifully orchestrated, deeply elegiac first book chronicles what it means to be “father of two sons who can never touch”; it weaves in memories of the professor of anthropology for whom the poet was caregiver at the end of her long life. Go To the Living plumbs the trajectories of grief, memory, and writing about these, with searing truthfulness; its language is alive with a creative, world-curious spirit, the creative spirit of fathering: game-creating, metaphor-creating, anxious-dream-creating, myth-making.”- Judy Z. Kronenfeld, Author of Bird Flying through the Banquet
“Using the reflective forms beloved by Japanese poet Basho, Chatterton invites us to travel with him along the narrow road of his own interior. The resulting expedition unfolds at once as a vision quest and a memoir, as the poet and the reader seek the magic that will relieve and transform suffering. Tragic, yet always delicate, the poems offer themselves as alchemical gifts–transforming the dross of words, exploding with light.” – Stephanie Barbé Hammer, Author of The Puppet Turners of Narrow Interior
“Go To The Living shines into the darkness of loss a father’s unwavering lament and deep affections. In poem after poem, Micah Chatterton gives voice and figure to the memory of a son, Ezra, whose short life is made vivid in koans and laments, elegies, invocations, fragments, lists, anecdotes, and seemingly absurd yet heartbreakingly candid hypotheticals (Who would win in a cubicle fight unarmed, Micah asks in “July 27 3:41pm (Text),” a Klingon or a Wookie?). Even as the memory of one life finds its unlikely parallel, beyond time and even feeling, in the beginning of another, Chatterton’s attentiveness to form and measure of grief never wavers. I’m going to be a writer someday, Ezra says in “Now, Someday,” as he journeys to a summer camp for other children with cancer, where He wanted to see other / kids carved from the same soft wood / as him. As Chatterton observes in “Kitchen Counter,” Grief is learning just how weak and fragile words are, memory is. This beautiful, deeply felt collection locates in the memory of one life the beginning of the next, without ever yielding a shadow to either.” — John W. Evans, Author of The Consolations