Paperback Price: $15.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-882295-74-6


Selected Poem

Death Barged In

In his Russian greatcoat,
slamming open the door
with an unpardonable bang,
and he has been here ever since.

He changes everything,
rearranges the furniture,
his hand hovers
by the phone;
he will answer now, he says;
he will be the answer.

Tonight he sits down to dinner
at the head of the table
as we eat, mute;
later, he climbs into bed
between us.

Even as I sit here,
he stands behind me
clamping two
colossal hands on my shoulders
and bends down
and whispers to my neck:
From now on,
you write about me.

Slamming Open The Door


Winner of the 2008 Beatrice Hawley Award

Slamming Open the Door is an intensely individual book that takes a steadfast look at what is probably one of the most traumatic events a parent can experience—not only the death of a child, but her violent murder.”
Poetry International

“Throughout Slamming Open the Door, words are a mother’s weapon against not only her daughter’s assailant, but also the potentially lethal opponent that is grief. . . . Its intimacy and rawness are undeniable, as is its author’s unflinching candor.”
West Branch

“Readers will have to step outside of a familiar, comforting tradition of poetic grief while reading this book. . . . To read [Slamming Open the Door] is to stand onstage with a writer who finds herself in the middle of a story in which she has been reluctantly cast.”
The New York Times Book Review

“These are powerful poems individually and as a group, and seem as necessary as our instinct to turn away from what they convey.”
Lally’s Alley

“Written with skill in tight, spare lines without sentimentality or melodrama, Bonanno launches readers through the experience, one that evokes a universal terror. . . . A stunning first book.”
Library Journal

“In Slamming Open the Door, Bonanno upends expectations for what poetry can do and mean. She proves poetry’s durability and flexibility, showing how truth may speak to power, even at times of unendurable pain.”
Women’s Review of Books

Slamming Open the Door is a gift to us—a gift of power, truth, rage, and beauty. It lets us stand close beside its speaker, where we long to be. What we have feared to know, and need to know, Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno’s poems let us know. Her book is true to devastation and it’s true to love—it meets a kind of end of the world with an action of fresh making, which teaches and holds us.”
—Sharon Olds

“When Emily Dickinson wrote the line ‘After great pain, a formal feeling comes’ I think she was referring to poems—and the occasions that make them impossible to not write—like these. Spare, unflinching, and powerful, the poems in Slamming Open the Door move me to the bone. How does one say I love this book, which I wish never had to be written? Only one way: I love this book. I wish it did not have to be written.”
—Thomas Lux

“From the unspeakable—the murder of her daughter—Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno creates a poetic sequence like no other. She is our Everywoman, holding church, family, and law to the light. Idiomatic, monumental, these poems grieve and rage and stun. Can poetry matter? With her debut collection, Bonanno establishes, for lyric poetry, a new place in postmodern America. Brilliant. Humane. Enduring.”
—Robin Becker

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