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How to Love the Empty Air

4.53  ·  Rating details ·  88 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Vulnerable, beautiful and ultimately life-affirming, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s work reaches new heights in her revelatory seventh collection of poetry. Continuing in her tradition of engaging autobiographical work, How to Love the Empty Air explores what happens when the impossible becomes real―for better and for worse. Aptowicz’s journey to find happiness and home in her ...more
Paperback, 100 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Write Bloody Publishing (first published March 20th 2018)
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4.53  · 
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Cheryl
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a nice collection of poems. I enjoyed reading them. Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz really embraced the essence of love and loss of a mother. A truly heartfelt collection of poems. Some I liked more than others.

There is "My Mother Wants to Know if I'm Dead". Anyone who has a close relationship with their Mother can relate to this poem.

It goes like this:

ARE YOU DEAD? is the subject line of her email. The text outlines the numerous ways she thinks I could have died: slain by an axe-mur
...more
Michelle Miller (True Book Addict)
As I began reading this collection, I did not expect to be a sobbing mess about midway through until the end. Wow. The poems in this book are about an artist struggling to make her voice heard, but they are also much more. They are about a woman's love for a mother who made her the very person she is. So beautifully written and poignant. For words to evoke such an emotional response is pure genius. I dare anyone to read this collection without ending up with your guts wrenched and a pile of sodd ...more
Veronica
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the 15 years since I lost my mother, I have yet to read something that so beautifully and tragically embodies what it means to lose your biggest supporter.

I do not normally read poetry, but Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz's writing makes me want more. When her collection ended I did not want it to end. It was part because I wanted her to continue painting my own sorrow and because I wanted to read more of her art. It took me a few days to finish this book because the poem that is set at her mother'
...more
Zoe
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have your tissues ready when you read HOW TO LOVE THE EMPTY AIR by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz. This slim collection of autobiographical poetry will hit you right in the feels. As you might have guessed from the title, these poems explore love, loss, and grief. For Aptowicz, it's the devastating loss of her greatest champion and her inspiration: her mother. She navigates grief as she simultaneously finds love and stability with her new spouse and professional success with a bestselling book. Recomm ...more
Alicea
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My pals over at Wunderkind PR sent me a copy of today's book and asked that I give an honest review. Spoiler alert: I said yes. :-)

How to Love the Empty Air by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz is a collection of poetry which primarily focuses on her relationship with her mother (also a writer) and the grief she experienced after her death. Please don't think it's all doom and gloom and buckets of tears (although there is that too) because she also delves into the pockets of happiness that can be found a
...more
Edmund Davis-Quinn
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really beautiful and heartfelt. Losing a parent you deeply love hurts so much. Her mother was the rock in her life, like the father I lost five years ago was the rock in mine. Keep tissues close. I'm glad Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz writes poetry. Fantastic.
Caroline
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I didn't love every poem, but man, did I cry buckets of tears reading this collection. About halfway through I started ugly crying and pretty much never stopped. This is because Aptowicz's collection deals predominantly with the grief of losing her mother. I am very close to my own mother, and even the thought of one day losing her is enough to upset me. Honestly, just trying to go back and find some lines to quote for this review is making me emotional! So for sheer emotional impact, I
...more
Bianca
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In general I've had a bias toward poetry for no reason at all other than just a general unfamiliarity of it other than the rhyming verses of grade school classrooms so this was admittedly out of my comfort zone. However, when the book was pitched to me, it included a sample page and I was immediately plunged into the raw and visceral world that Christin captured on the page (see the sample I first read below). I felt like a fly on the wall reading How to Love the Empty Air. Cristin takes the rea ...more
Cheryl Malandrinos
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having lost my mother when I was just a teenager, I was drawn to How to Love the Empty Air. While grief is a very personal thing, there is comfort in the understanding of someone else who has experienced the same tragedy. Apotowicz holds nothing back in this collection. She shares her joys, her sorrows, and her pain in all its rawness. You laugh. You cry. You want to hug her because she feels so close as she stumbles around searching for that new normal that may never feel normal at all. Then sh ...more
Courtney LeBlanc
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
This collection of poetry focuses on the poet's mother, her death, and how the poet functions - or sometimes fails to function - after her death. My favorite poems in this collection were actually the ones that didn't focus on her mother, the poems that focuses on her life or her relationship. The mother poems, while nice, began to feel repetitive in nature.

From Midtown, which is about her mother but in a way that feels applicable to other things in life: "For months, I walk. The only person I
...more
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely "Vulnerable and beautiful". This is a very heartwarming and heart breaking story told in poems. What's more heart breaking than the death of someone's mother unfolding on the pages before you? I actually got choked up a few times reading this. I am sure this will be one I will read over more than a few times. I have already read most of it twice!

Besides just being sad - this is real. Cristin gets a little snarky at times, and I love that. I love that she could mix a little humor with
...more
Becky
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
My Dad gave me an appreciation for poetry when I was young, or at least a certain type of poetry...the kind that touches the heart, and this book definitely does that. It is so beautifully written, so raw, so real! I seldom keep books I've read, most of them get passed on. However, this one I'm going to hold onto, at least for a while....until I find someone who needs it more than I do. It will be the perfect gift....saying just the right thing when words fail me. So appreciate Cristin's insight ...more
David
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I decided to read this book because I follow Cristin socially about reading her amazing book about Dr. Mutter and learned that she had a new book of poetry. I've always enjoyed poetry and this latest book is about her grief and the loss of her mother. I am always drawn to stories about grief and the loss of a parent having lost my father in 2007. I think I am drawn to such books because I want to relate how others have dealt with the topic compared to how I have dealt or am dealing with in my li ...more
Trey
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Cristin takes us through the events leading up to, though, and after her mother's death. It's vulnerable, funny, and heart-breaking all at once. Her poetic voice is very conversational, so if you are hesitant to read poetry, this is a great entry point. Just make sure you have some tissues on hand. Also, Cristin does an incredible job performing her poems live, so you should look up videos of hers ASAP.
Rhonda Lomazow
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this gorgeous emotional book of poetry.From the opening poem when Cristin realizes she ca no longer live in ny.I was born &bred in Ny & it it's did break my heart when I had to leave.Cristins poems are raw intimate breathtaking.
Denise Nader
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Terminé el 2018 y empecé el 2019 con este libro. Es un libro generoso, honesto, hermoso. Me ha hecho llorar, reír, desear escribir otra vez. No conocía a la autora: ahora quiero leer todo lo que ha escrito.
Gail
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
This slim (88 pages) poetry collection dealt mostly with the sudden death--and aftermath--of the author's mother. Aptowicz writes well; because I liked this book, I may read some of her other work, including a best-selling nonfiction title. Recommended for poetry readers.
Krisy
This is a powerful collection of poems about the process of dealing with the grief of losing your mother. I teared up several times while reading and it makes me terrified for the day when my mom will no longer be here.
Mirit
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So simple. So poignant.
Jesaca
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It was beautiful and heartbreaking. A book that the universe felt like I needed to read.
Emily Rems
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Vivid, relatable, and quietly devastating.
Karina
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning book of prose. I almost cried several times at how connected I felt to her words.
Merlin
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Dec 06, 2018
Tommy Lane
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Jul 19, 2018
Laura Huggett
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Oct 02, 2018
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Sinead Reilly
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Rachel
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poesy
Oh this is beautiful.
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Poetic Book Tours: March-April Poetry Tour 2 12 Mar 25, 2018 04:00PM  
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is an American poet who was recently awarded a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.

She is the author of five books of poetry, including the recently released Everything is Everthing (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as the canonical slam history, Words in Your Face (Soft Skull Press), which U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins wrote “leaves no doubt that
...more
“The only person I see is my shadow, this darkness trailing behind me that I’m unable to shake.” 0 likes
“And Mary Oliver said, I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” 0 likes
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