Sophie Cabot Black is the author of two previous poetry collections: The Descent, winner of the Connecticut Book Award, and The Misunderstanding of Nature, winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. She lives in New York City and in rural Connecticut. (Author photo by Alexander Black)
In The Exchange, poet Sophie Cabot Black explores the surprising interplay between mortality and money, between the next world and this one, between the language of disease and the language of finance. Following a beloved friend through long illness and eventual loss, these poems confront in stark emotion the aftermath, even as the outside world—the world of debts paid and collected, of power and dominion—intrudes. What is gained and what is sacrificed, and how can those profits and losses be measured, when the currency involved is love?
"These meditative, aphoristic poems deal with paying witness to illness, questioning both the future and the afterlife. . . . In these poems Black weaves sheer elegance and devastating knowing."
"Black has received praise for her taut lyrics of elusive yet enchanting elegance. [The Exchange] continues that trend, and here Black confronts various forms of trade and exchange, from stocks on the New York Stock Exchange, to life for death, to a child for the sacrificial lamb."