All Sins Forgiven
poems for my parents
by Charles Coe
No relationship is more personal, yet universal, than that of parent and child. These richly detailed poems, begun as a way for the author to understand his own mother and father, connect readers with their own experiences in that most fundamental of relationships, and are poignant reminders that the lives of those closest to us sometimes offer the deepest mysteries.
"Reading these remarkable poems is like the shadowed, soul-affirming joy of discovering old family photographs in a worn grocery bag in your attic; yes, I am here in this body on this earth because of them, this man and woman who loved and lived and did the best they knew how to do, even if it did not always seem like quite enough at the time. All Sins Forgiven: Poems for My Parents is such a deeply evocative and loving rendering of Charles Coe's persevering mother and father that this book does what art is supposed to do; it delivers to the reader his or her own stumbling, flawed, largely well-meaning flesh and blood portals to this world. This is an immensely satisfying collection!"
--Andre Dubus III, author of "House of Sand and Fog" and "Townie, a Memoir."
"A book I fell in love with after the first couple of poems. Coe writes about his parents with warmth, insight and grace. Here is a collection that captures the tenderness and intimacy within the black family that sadly goes unnoticed by much of America. Coe writes with celebration as well as regret. His words construct a path from the innocence of childhood into the winter of aging. Coe is a witness to black life and black love. His book will outlive much of the poetry being written today."
--E. Ethelbert Miller, director of the African-American Resource Center at Howard University; author of "Fathering Words: The Making of an African-American Writer" and "Buddah in Winter."
“At once an extremely clear-sighted and unsentimental portrait of Coe’s mother and father, and a book written with great tenderness. It’s rare we can come to see our parents in themselves, and even rarer to see all their faults and yet express love and understanding, as these poems do.”
--Marge Piercy, poet, novelist, memoirist
Charles Coe’s poetry and prose has appeared in numerous
journals and magazines, and his poems have been set to music
by composers Julia Carey, Beth Denisch and Robert Moran. His
first poetry collection is Picnic on the Moon (Leapfrog Press).
Charles also writes feature articles, book reviews and interviews
for publications such as Harvard Magazine, Northeastern University
Law Review and the Boston Phoenix. In addition to his work
as a writer, he has an extensive background as a jazz vocalist
and has performed and recorded with numerous musicians
throughout New England.
Pub Date: April 2013
Back to Poetry Titles
Charles Coe has been selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as one of the "Literary Lights of 2014." This is an honor awarded each year to six outstanding writers from the northeast. The complete list:
Andre Aciman, Charles Coe, Tina Howe, Charles C. Mann, Stewart O'Nan, Edith Perlman
The six will be acknowledged at a black-tie gala on Sunday, April 13, 2014 at the Boston Copley Plaza Hotel. The keynote speaker will be Stephen Greenblatt, scholar, literary critic and author of Will in the World, a biography of Shakespeare that spent nine weeks on the New York Times best-seller list.
Also by Charles Coe:
Picnic on the Moon
See our author events page for a listing of Charles Coe's readings and signings in the Boston area this summer and fall