cover image Death Prefers the Minor Keys

Death Prefers the Minor Keys

Sean Thomas Dougherty. BOA, $17 trade paper (146p) ISBN 978-1-960145-06-2

In Dougherty’s existential 20th collection (following The Second of Sorrow), he scrutinizes in prose poems the challenges of caregiving, the fleeting nature of life, and the profound moments that shape humanity: “I am old as any levee. The older I get the more I am enamored with the rain, the river, floods.” Reflecting on the contrast between rural dreams and suburban realities, he touches on themes of longing, loss, and transience: “I’d love to have been a farmer with a hundred acres.... The world turns and turns again.” At the heart of the collection, poems like “Written on the Back of Medical Forms” testify to the complexities of caregiving and its emotional toll: “What I have to tell you here has more to do with being human than with spirit.” Dougherty sings of the vast fields of sunflowers in North Dakota and the subtle beauty of tiger-striped butterflies, capturing the essence of life’s ephemerality. The volume is punctuated by moments of raw emotion, as seen in the poignant reflections on aging, the weight of memories, and the ever-present desire for connection. Readers are invited to contemplate the beauty and complexity of life, and urged to find meaning in both the extraordinary and the everyday. Dougherty’s vision is dynamic and brilliant. (Oct.)