In her third collection of poetry, Viper Rum, Mary Karr delves into autobiographical subject matter; various beloveds are birthed and buried in these touching lyrics, some of which, as the title suggests, deal with drink:
I cast back to those last years
I drank, alone nights at the kitchen sink,
bathrobed, my head hatching snakes,
while my baby slept in his upstairs cage
and my marriage choked to death
Precise and surprising, Karr's poems "take on the bedevilments of fate and grief with a diabolical edge of their own" (Poetry).
Also included is Karr's controversial and prize-winning essay "Against Decoration," in which she took aim against the verbal ornaments that too often pass for poetry these days-the "new formalism" that elevates form to an end itself.