Shadow-feast is a chronicle of dying--the awareness, denial, pain, and hope surrounding incurable illness, as well as the aftermath of grief as told from three points of view: Hers, His, and Theirs (the couple). The collection as a whole is a kagezen, or shadow-feast, a traditional Japanese meal offered to the dead. However here it is set out not for an absent beloved, but for the reader.
The award-winning author of five books of poetry, Joan Houlihan received her BA and MAT in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and serves on the faculty of Lesley University's Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. She lives outside of Boston.
The title Blood Labors is a double entendre: labors as both the thing and the action. Split into four sections, which act as musical movements more than section breaks, there are poems about space and matter, the human impulse to create, and the artist's work.
Daniel Tobin is the author of seven previous books of poems, most recently the book-length poem From Nothing. He has received the "Discovery"/The Nation Award, The Robert Penn Warren Award, The Greensboro Review Prize, the Robert Frost Fellowship, the Katherine Bakeless Nason Prize, the Massachusetts Book Award, the Julia Ward Howe Award, and creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He lives in Boston, MA and teaches at Emerson College.