On Loss

[Photos by Kaushik]

We intend this section to serve as a space for writings–of all kinds, poems, stories, novels, prayers, memoirs, songs– about love, loss and death.

We welcome contributions and further suggestions for this selection.

Memoirs about the loss of a spouse
“All poetry is about the death of the beloved.”
— Faiz Ahmed Faiz (cited by Donald Hall in The Painted Bed)

  • Jeffrey Berman, Companionship in Grief: Love and Loss in the Memoirs of C.S. Lewis, John Bayley, Donald Hall, Joan Didion (University of Massachussetts, )
  • C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (1961):
    There are quotations from A Grief Observedhere; and here:
    and a review of a reprint of the book by Hilary Mantel.
  • John Bayley, Elegy for Iris (1998)
  • Donald Hall, Without (1998); The Best of Times, the Worst of Times (2005)
    You can read one of the poems in Without here.
  • Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking (2005)
    You can read an extract from Didion’s book here.


Poems about love and loss 

  1. Meena Alexander, ‘Deer Park at Sarnath
  2. Carmen Bugan: ‘The Fourteenth spring
  3. Dina Omar: ‘Chronicles of my Father’s heart’ 
  4. Pablo Neruda: ‘100 Sonnets of Pablo Neruda

Death in the family 

James Agee, A Death in the Family (1957)
[Here is an excerpt—and a tribute: http://www.johnthorndike.com/?tag=james-agee]

Mark Slouka, ‘Nobody’s Son’, New Yorker, January 6, 2014, online at: http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/nobodys-son

Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”: at: http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/proud/proud1.html 
You can hear the poet reading it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mRec3VbH3w​

Roland Barthes, from Camera Lucida 

Kaushik Sunder Rajan, ‘Time is out of joint’