Thomas Lynch is the author of five collections of poems and four books of essays. A book of stories, Apparition & Late Fictions, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, is now available in paperback and can be purchased in bookstores and online.

A "Classic Contemporary" edition of Skating with Heather Grace, his first book of poems, has just be reissued by Carnegie-Mellon University Press. In 2011, Paraclete Press published The Sin Eater: A Breviary -- a collection of his sin-eater poems accompanied by black and white photographs by Michael Lynch and cover art by Sean Lynch. Salmon Press, The Cliffs of Moher, Co. Clare, Ireland published an Irish edition in 2012. The Good Funeral - Death, Grief & The Community of Care, co-authored with theologian, Dr. Thomas G. Long, was published in September, 2013.

Thomas Lynch's work has been the subject of two film documentaries. PBS Frontline's The Undertaking, aired nationwide in 2007, won the 2008 Emmy Award for Arts and Culture Documentary. Cathal Black's film, Learning Gravity, produced for the BBC, was featured at the 2008 Telluride Film Festival and the 6th Traverse City Film Festival in 2009 where it was awarded the Michigan Prize by Michael Moore. He has taught with the Department of Mortuary Science at Wayne State University in Detroit, with the graduate program in writing at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and with the Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. He is a charter member of the faculty of the Bear River Writers Conference at Walloon Lake in Michigan.

Thomas Lynch's essays, poems and stories have appeared in The Atlantic and Granta, The New York Times and Times of London, The New Yorker, Poetry and The Paris Review and elsewhere. He lives in Milford, Michigan where he has been the funeral director since 1974, and in Moveen, Co. Clare, Ireland where he keeps an ancestral cottage.

SoundCloud audio tracks

Collections of Poems and Essays

Collections of Poetry

Bone Rosary

A selection of the very best from one of America’s most thought-provoking writers: poems on life, faith, doubt, and death that read like memoir, essay, and story. As The New York Times wrote, Thomas Lynch’s work is “likely to resonate with many who have come face to face with life’s most important ...
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The Sin Eater: A Breviary

The Sin-Eater: A Breviary, Thomas Lynch's fifth book of poems was launched at The Grolier Poetry Book Shop in Cambridge, the collection gathers two dozen, twenty-four line poems -- a book of hours -- on the life and times of Argyle, the sin-eater and includes two dozen black and white ...
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Walking Papers | poems

In his fourth collection of poems, Thomas Lynch attends to flora, fauna, and fellow pilgrims: dead poets and living masters, a former president and his factotums, a sin-eater and inseminator. Faux-bardic and mock-epic, deft at lament and lampoon, fete and feint, Lynch's poems are powerful medicines, tonics for the long ...
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Still Life in Milford: Poems

A collection of poetry in which Thomas Lynch tenders poems on life and death, history and memory, the local and the larger geographies.With one ear to the ground and another to the heavens, Lynch renders poems that echo mortality's solid thud. The combined perspectives of his two occupations--running a family ...
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Grimalkin and Other Poems

Grimalkin & Other Poems is Thomas Lynch's second collection, edited by Robin Robertson.
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Skating with Heather Grace

This book is the first published collection of the great undertaker poet, and is very scarce, especially in the hardcover issue. Like the poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams before him, Thomas Lynch works in the world of real things. Like Stevens, like Williams, Lynch does the kind of ...
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Collections of Essays & Other Writings

The Depositions

Released on November 26, 2019 New and selected essays on being and ceasing to be. For nearly four decades, poet, essayist, and small-town funeral director Thomas Lynch has probed relations between the literary and mortuary arts. His life’s work with the dead and the bereaved has informed four previous collections ...
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Whence and Whither: On Lives and Living

Launched February 19, 2019 From one of our most gifted writers and thinkers about death and the meaning of living comes a collection of writings about “what comes next.” Thomas Lynch, funeral director, poet, and author of the National Book Award finalist The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, has ...
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The Good Funeral – Death, Grief and the Community of Care

Co-authored with the theologian, Thomas G. Long Written for seminarians and mortuary students, clergy and funeral directors, it is a study of the funeral practices which the authors claim "have gone ritually astray." They suggest ways the culture might reclaim some of the most useful and human ceremonial responses to ...
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Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories

A Methodist minister gone astray, a trout bum gone fishing with his father's ashes, an artist overwhelmed by embodied beauty -- these are among the uncommon heroes and exquisite narratives in this first collection of stories by Thomas Lynch.  Set in Michigan's north woods, Ohio's interior, on islands, in casinos ...
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Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans

A memoir of forty years of coming and going between Michigan and Moveen, West Clare.  This writer's returning to the old country reveals the binding ties of family, faith, language and home-place -- the precious and perilous nature of tribe and "people" and ethnicity.  Part memoir, part cultural study, Booking ...
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Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality

In this collection of essays, Thomas Lynch, hailed by The New York Times as "a cross between Garrison Keillor and William Butler Yeats,"reminds us not only of how we die but also of how we live. Bodies in Motion and at Rest proves Thomas Lynch to be an essential author in a time ...
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His commentaries have been recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio, RTE in Ireland and NPR. He is the recipient of grants and awards from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Michigan Council for the Arts, The Michigan Library Association, The Writers Voice Project, The National Book Foundation, The Arvon Foundation in Great Britain and The Irish Arts Council.


He has read and lectured at universities and literary centers throughout Europe, The United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and across the United States. He is a regular presenter to professional conferences of funeral directors, hospice and medical ethics professionals, clergy, educators and businss leaders. He has been an Adjunct Professor in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has appeared on C-SPAN, MSNBC, The Today Show, and the PBS-Bill Moyers Series, "On Our Own Terms."

2007 Frontline's PBS Special: THE UNDERTAKING