cover image of The Terrible

The Terrible

A Storyteller's Memoir

by Yrsa Daley-Ward


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Winner of the PEN Ackerley Prize
  • Longlisted for the 2019 PEN Open Book Award
    "Devastating and lyrical." —The New York Times

    "Suspenseful and affecting." —The New Yorker
    From the celebrated poet behind bone, a collection of poems that tells a story of coming-of-age, uncovering the cruelty and beauty of the world, going under, and finding redemption

    Through her signature sharp, searing poems, this is the story of Yrsa Daley-Ward and all the things that happened. "Even the terrible things. And God, there were terrible things." It's about her childhood in the northwest of England with her beautiful, careworn mother Marcia; the man formerly known as Dad (half fun, half frightening); and her little brother Roo, who sees things written in the stars.
    It's also about the surreal magic of adolescence, about growing up and discovering the power and fear of sexuality, about pitch-gray days of pills and powder and connection. It's about damage and pain, but also joy. With raw intensity and shocking honesty, The Terrible is a collection of poems that tells the story of what it means to lose yourself and find your voice.
    "You may not run away from the thing that you are
    because it comes and comes and comes as sure as you breathe."
  • Publication Details

    Penguin Publishing Group
    Penguin Books
    Publication Date:


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