Viper Rum

Viper Rum

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780142000182
  • 96 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


In her third collection of poetry, Viper Rum, Mary Karr delves into autobiographical subject matter; various beloveds are birthed and buried in these touching lyrics, some of which, as the title suggests, deal with drink:

I cast back to those last years
I drank, alone nights at the kitchen sink,
bathrobed, my head hatching snakes,
while my baby slept in his upstairs cage
and my marriage choked to death

Precise and surprising, Karr’s poems “take on the bedevilments of fate and grief with a diabolical edge of their own” (Poetry).

Also included is Karr’s controversial and prize-winning essay “Against Decoration,” in which she took aim against the verbal ornaments that too often pass for poetry these days-the “new formalism” that elevates form to an end itself.
Viper Rum

Viper Rum

Mary Karr


Poets, Penguin
Alice Notley
Corinne Lee
Phillis Levin
Robyn Schiff

Table of Contents

viper rumViper Rum
Incant Against Suicide
The Wife of Jesus Speaks
The Last of the Brooding Miserables
Four of the Horsemen (Hypertense and Stroke, Coronary Occlusion and Cerebral Insult)
The Patient
Beauty and the Shoe Sluts
Field of Skulls
Summons (or This Won’t Hurt You a Bit and It’ll Cheer Me Up)
Requiem for the New Year
The Grand Miracle
Mr. D. Refuses the Blessing
Limbo: Altered States
The Pallbearer
The Century’s Worst Blizzard
Revenge of the Ex-Mistress
Dead Drunk (or The Monster-Maker at Work)
Animistic Anatomy
Mall Crawl
Christ’s Passion
Domestic Ruins
The Invention of God in a Mouthful of Milk
County Fair
Lifecycle Stairmaster
Chosen Blindess

Afterword: Against Decoration

Index of Titles & First Lines

PRH Book Clubs Survey