"In The Crying Book, Heather Christle makes a poignant and piercing examination of the phenomenon of tears—exhaustive, yes, but also open-ended, such that I was left clutching this book to my chest with wonder, asking myself when the last time was that I cried, and why. A deeply felt, and genuinely touching, book." —Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias
Why do we cry? How do we cry? And what does it mean? A scientific, cultural, artistic examination by a young poet on the cusp of motherhood.
On Sale November 5, 2019 • ISBN 9781948226448
Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and now must reckon with her own depression and the birth of her first child. As she faces her grief and impending parenthood, she decides to research the act of crying: what it is and why people do it, even if they rarely talk about it. Along the way, she discovers an artist who designed a frozen-tear-shooting gun and a moth that feeds on the tears of other animals. She researches tear-collecting devices (lachrymatories) and explores the role white women’s tears play in racist violence.
Honest, intelligent, rapturous, and surprising, Christle’s investigations look through a mosaic of science, history, and her own lived experience to find new ways of understanding life, loss, and mental illness. The Crying Book is a deeply personal tribute to the fascinating strangeness of tears and the unexpected resilience of joy.
Heather Christle is the author of the poetry collections The Difficult Farm; The Trees The Trees, which won the Believer Poetry Award; What Is Amazing; and Heliopause. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, London Review of Books, Poetry, and many other journals. She teaches creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. The Crying Book is her first book of nonfiction.