'Sometimes I Never Suffered' by Shane McCrae Available Now

BY Audrey Deng, August 12, 2020

Assistant Professor of poetry Shane McCrae recently published Sometimes I Never Suffered through FSG. Sometimes I Never Suffered is the third part of an epic that began with "Purgatory" in McCrae’s In the Language of My Captor and continued with "The Hell Poem" in The Gilded Auction Block.

Sometimes I Never Suffered is McCrae’s seventh collection of poems, which each function as their own self-contained story. For the New Yorker, Dan Chiasson described McCrae as “a shrewd composer of American stories.” In McCrae’s latest book, the stories in question involve an angel being expelled from Heaven to Earth by his fellow residents while Jim Limber, the adopted mixed-race son of Jefferson Davis, wanders through the afterlife. This book compelled The Millions to describe McCrae as “one of the finest poets of God and the unknown.”

According to Macmillan, “Sometimes I Never Suffered is a search for purpose and atonement, freedom and forgiveness, imagining eternity not as an escape from the past or present, but as a reverberating record and as the culmination of time’s manifold potential to mend.”

In an interview with the Chicago Review of Books, McCrae notes that the end of his three-book poem cycle brings with it a new curiosity regarding punctuation: “I’m trying to figure out how to use commas, and periods, and question marks, and even one exclamation mark. The use of conventional punctuation in poems presents me with options I didn’t have before, and I’m excited to explore those. And I’m working on a memoir. Prose! I’m using all the punctuation marks in that.”

On Aug. 15 at 7 pm, Literati Bookstore will host a reading with McCrae and the poet francine j. harris online. Sometimes I Never Suffered is available for purchase.

McCrae is the author of six previous books of poetry: The Gilded Auction Block; In the Language of My Captor, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award; The Animal Too Big to Kill, winner of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky / Editor’s Choice Award; Forgiveness Forgiveness; Blood; and Mule. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He lives in New York City.