An Individual History describes the fears, anger, and guilt--personal, familial, societal, political, and historical--that comprise a life. The figure of the speaker's maternal grandmother who was institutionalized for five decades serves as an overriding metaphor for this haunting, bold new work by an essential American poet.
from "An Individual History"
This was before the time of lithium and Zoloft before mood stabilizers and anxiolytics and almost all the psychotropic drugs, but not before thorazine, which the suicide O'Laughlin called "handcuffs for the mind." It was before, during, and after the time of atomic fallout, Auschwitz, the Nakba, DDT, and you could take water cures, find solace in quarantines, participate in shunnings, or stand at Lourdes among the canes and crutches.