Literary Nonfiction. Poetry. Women's Studies. SETTING THE WIRE is a memoir of postpartum psychosis and a meditation on containment: what we hold and what holds us together. A lyric exploration of motherhood, mental illness, and familial ties, Sarah C. Townsend's debut work weaves together personal anecdote, film, music, visual art, and psychology. SETTING THE WIRE is a visceral reflection on the experience of fragmentation as a young psychotherapist and new mother.
"Sarah Townsend's SETTING THE WIRE is a tightly coiled and disturbingly gorgeous exploration of her postpartum mental breakdown. I devoured these pages—while willing myself to slow down so I could catch every nuance of Townsend's taut, lyrical, wise writing."—Claire Dederer
SETTING THE WIRE is a book one doesn't so much read as fall into. Townsend drops us masterfully into a state of mind almost over the edge but never completely. Evocative and mesmerizing, this book should be kept near Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, Doris Lessing's To Room Nineteen, and Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea."—Theo Pauline Nestor
"Sarah Townsend has written a memoir of maternal loss, a state that brings relief only when it is inverted. The mother of this book has a nervous system like wet fire, like creativity before it has been experienced as creativity: thus, 'nascent.' This memoir has Ohio in it and also the Puget Sound. Water and earth. Body and mind. Something like 'a shard' between. Dip that pointed glass in red ink. Boil that ink over the paper. This book is written like that. When it is too late. When all that remains is the formidably public and emotionally intimate attempt to live at all. And then to make the shift. To trust. To thrive."—Bhanu Kapil
Sarah Townsend is the author of SETTING THE WIRE: A MEMOIR OF POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS (The Lettered Streets Press, 2019), which was a finalist for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Firecracker Award for creative nonfiction. She received her MFA from Goddard College and her MA in counseling psychology from Northwestern University. Her work has been published or featured in Lit Hub, Literary Mama, Entropy, The Seattle Review of Books, and Chicago Review of Books and on podcasts and radio, including Beyond Well with Sheila Hamilton, The Ish with Cameron Dezen Hammon and UpFront with Cat Brooks of KPFA, Berkeley.
Townsend serves on the advisory committee of Perinatal Support Washington and the Postpartum Psychosis Task Force of Postpartum Support International. She co-facilitates the Holyoke Reading Series and the Goddard College Lighthouse Writers' Conference & Retreat. She has been a Guest Artist at Wesleyan University, Saint Martin's University, Goddard College MFA, Hugo House and the University of Washington. SETTING THE WIRE is her first book.
Author City: SEATTLE, WA USA