Once Upon Wing Lake, by Andrea Scarpino

Order from the HnW Shop! or go back to HnW here

Scarpino's poems courageously lay bare the nerves and heart of violence and loss in order to uncover exquisite truths about human resilience. These remarkable poems haunt and reverberate across time, even when the speaker's notion of family becomes ...a distant planet, [a] solar system we knew we couldn't reach. In vivid, multi-layered poems, Scarpino unbuttons language reminiscent of the most memorable fairytales, and pins it to the wall.

—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Lucky Fish and At the Drive-in Volcano

“What do you know for sure?” is a question raised again and again in Once Upon Wing Lake. This gorgeous and unsettling collection, heavily influenced by fairy tales, is an exploration of childhood trauma, family narrative, and memory. But it is also a love poem from a sister to her brother. Through imaginative leaps, metaphorical and formal shapeshifting, and a fearless use of white space, Andrea Scarpino speaks to the bonds that keep us alive. I’m in awe of what she’s achieved here.

—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones an The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison

The poems in Andrea Scarpino’s Once Upon Wing Lake are as unlike the Romantics as are we—and yet, (yet!) they are notes passed between siblings in a woods which later (much later!) we’ll learn to call experience. Not since Anne Sexton’s Transformations have I seen poems this wise, unsentimental, and true about the inner lives of tested children.

—Stephen Kuusisto, author of Only Bread Only Light an Planet of the Blind