A LOVE LETTER has the power to speak outside of time (or through time) as did my beloved aunt who left a paper trail that evidenced she kept me in her thoughts. She’d drafted an Advance Directive, and purchased some modest burial insurance, and protected a few memories that might have otherwise been forgotten. A love letter became how she chose to say goodbye and go with grace.
So, I wish in many ways to reciprocate her love with this little book—a re-memory—a reflection of where I was when she left this world, and where I am now, and where in the future any one of us might be.
“A Love Letter is a profound and gorgeously rendered tribute to a person, to a place, and to life itself. I really enjoyed the vivid characters and the sensitivity and elegance of Carmen Kennedy’s writing.” —Vendela Vida, author of We Run the Tides
“A Love Letter is the reader’s honor of being brought into the sharp tenderness of a loved one’s transition. To enter this room also offering your mind to the various mirrors of embrace. To walk down the predatory nodes of a medical system serving capital and rage along. In a few pages, you are years changed.” —Tongo Eisen Martin, San Francisco Poet Laureate
“A Love Letter ’s lyrical vignettes place witness pinnacle as the speaker both chronicles and begets introspection. We observe cyclical mourning and cyclical hope. In these pages, we gather empathy as a cure for our human condition, with passages like, ‘this journey is eminently finite and someone’s departure can seem abrupt if you miss as little as a day, week or month.’ Praise this work that allows us to look into another’s eyes and see something beautiful.” —Daniel B. Summerhill, Monterey County Poet Laureate, author of DIVINE, DIVINE, DIVINE
“Carmen’s exquisite memoriam moves between the harshness of loss and ways in which our bodies accept its inevitability. It snapshots a personal moment with such beautiful transcendence that it draws in all the senses and will serve as lastly a guide to anyone else who has to later turn the pages of their own scrapbooks… I am forever changed.” —Tshaka Campbell, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, author of Tunnel Vision
“As a person who witnessed two loved ones’ minds sail away before their bodies departed, I can assure you that Carmen Kennedy has captured a maelstrom of emotions and delicately drew them onto the spathe of a calla lily. This profound prosimetrum captures the rememory of loss in a sequence of window panes all shattering with the sorrow, doubt, and the tenderest moments of humans coming together to hold one another up when the world seems like it is drifting away. Carmen captured the stages of grief in stained-glass. This is one of the most delicate works I have read in a long time–but the carefulness of how it was written relays the strength of the writer into the minds of those who read it–especially those who find pieces of themselves in the elegant layering of these pastel paned moments. This is a declaration of healing.” Vernon Keeve III (Trey), author of SOUTHERN MIGRANT MIXTAPE
“This tenderly woven love letter will excavate memory of life’s end with unexpected beginnings. Watching a once so alive stylish personality retreat into unknown territories, you seize this uncharted landscape and commit to it out of love, family, and duty. This love letter is an exquisite exercise on how to charter mental and emotional scenes staged with a cast of characters that add melancholy and humor to life’s play. You’re about to take a journey following a roadmap on how to acclimatize yourself while a loved one gradually ceases to know you, themselves, or their body. This letter of love will assist you in navigating the most intrinsic elements of caregiving and the difficulty of letting go. This tome will be of great value and benefit to many.” —Tureeda Mikell, author of Synchronicity: The Oracle of Sun Medicine
“Carmen Kennedy’s essay collection is a clear-eyed, incisive, important contribution to an emerging public sphere dialogue around medical racism, the systemic ‘bad medicine’ that too often impairs the lives of our loved ones—in this case, the multi-generational members of the author’s own family.” — Keenan Norris, author of The Confession of Copeland Cane
“Carmen Kennedy has written a poignant and rapturous tale of caregiving, grieving, and persevering. Her prose will grab you—let it.” —Selena Anderson, Rona Jaffe Award recipient
Carmen is quick to recount her good fortune, landing in a MFA program that inspired her to dream, discover, and document her life with some newly acquired knowledge and a smattering of literary alchemy. So accustomed she became to this modus vivendi with its reading, ruminating, and writing, that she planted herself at her alma mater and blossomed quite nicely as a perennial learner and lecturer. You can watch her grow @carmennedy where she posts links to her work, published in the Themis and Acacia journals, and a few of her distinctions, including a James D. Phelan literary award, a Solas Award in the category of culture and ideas, and a little book debuting: 2023.