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THE GOOD FUNERAL - Death, Grief and the Community of Care

THE GOOD FUNERAL - Death, Grief and the Community of Care, published by Westminster John Knox Press and co-authored with the theologian, Thomas G. Long looks at Last Things and matters mortuary, it was launched at the National Funeral Directors annual convention in Austin Texas on October 21, 2013.  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 a death in the family. 

The Sin Eater: A Breviary

(Parcelete Press, September, 2011)

Argyle eased the warm loaf right and left
and downed swift gulps of beer and venial sin
then lit into the bread now leavened with
the corpse’s cardinal mischiefs, then he said
“Six pence, I’m sorry.” And the widow paid him.
So opens the unsanctioned priesthood of The Sin-eater: A Breviary—Thomas Lynch’s collection of two dozen, twenty-four line poems—a book of hours in the odd life and times of Argyle, the sin-eater. Celtic and druidic, scapegoat and outlier, a fixture in the funerary landscape of former centuries, Argyle’s doubt-ridden witness seems entirely relevant to our difficult times. His “loaf and bowl,” consumed over corpses, become the elements of sacrament and sacrilege. By turns worshipful and irreverent, good-humored and grim, these poems examine the deeper meanings of Eucharist and grace, forgiveness and faith, atonement and reconciliation. With photographs by Michael Lynch and cover art by Sean Lynch, the author’s sons.

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Walking Papers: Poems

(W.W. Norton, February 2010)

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 haul and home-going.

Apparition & Late Fictions: A Novella and Stories

(W.W. Norton & Company, June, 2010)
The first collection of stories set in Michigan's north woods, Ohio's interior, on islands, in casinos adn distant cities.
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 .

Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans

(W.W. Norton & Company, June, 2005)
A memoir of forty years of coming and going between Michigan and Moveen, West Clare
A 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. Click Here for more information and how to order.

The Good Funeral

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Bodies in Motion and at Rest: On Metaphor and Mortality

(W.W. Norton & Company, May 2001)
In this collection of essays, Thomas Lynch, called a cross between Garrison Keillor and William Butler Yeats, reminds us not only of how we die but also of how we live.

The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

(W.W. Norton & Company, July 1997, July 1998)
A collection of twelve essays, The Undertaking was a winner of an American Book Award and finalist for the National Book Award.

Still Life in Milford: Poems


(W.W. Norton & Company, August 1998, November 1999)

A collection of poetry in which Thomas Lynch tenders poems on life and death, history and memory, the local and the larger geographies.
Poems Out Loud Thomas Lynch reads "No Prisoners," from Still Life in Milford


(Cape Poetry: 1994)
The poems in this volume are all concerned, one way or another, with achieving a balance in the face of gravity. Lynch looks for this equilibrium between equal and opposing forces, such as sex and death, and love and grief - all the things that make us mortal and memorable.

Skating with Heather Grace

(Alfred A. Knopf: December 1986)
Issued as part of the prestigious Knopf Poetry Series, this 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 work that makes him look at death-week in, week out, year in, year out.
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