The poems in They tell the story of a mother, her aging father, and her transgender child. As the mother struggles to understand her adult child’s emerging identity, the daughter takes it upon herself to remain close to her grandfather, a World War II veteran and former P.O.W., as he faces his final years alone. She writes him postcards as she travels around the country, and it is this one-sided correspondence that reveals her abiding love for a man who raised five children in the post-war years and must now grapple with issues he has never had to confront. These poems explore the challenges that gender identity poses to three different generations.
Praise for They:
“Sue Ellen Thompson’s They gifts us with verse that is probing, plainspokenly poetic, and unflinchingly honest. The focus of the book is the loving if unlikely bond between Thompson’s conservative father, a World War II bomber pilot and ex-POW, and her alternative daughter, whose outsider status casts her as a warrior for acceptance in a world where intolerance and misunderstanding too often preside. I was moved and shaken by this graceful and unforgettable collection.”—Wally Lamb, author of We Are Water
“Sue Ellen Thompson’s new book of poems, They, is accomplished, formal, eloquent, and moving. It has a surprise at its heart: we come to know that Thomasin, the poet’s daughter, has become Thomasin, the poet’s son, her grandfather’s longed-for grandson—who is still Thomasin, both loved and loving, their inheritor. The mother/poet refuses to be shut out by her adult child, ‘who isn’t at all/what I thought I’d received when the nurse/handed me my package.’ Poems about family change, body and soul, reveal that character and courage are needed to change in company with family. Read this book. It may change your life.”—Hilda Raz, author of What Becomes You, with Aaron Raz Link, and Trans
Order They via Turning Point Books from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. ISBN: 9781625490988, Softcover, 98 pages, $18.00.