Anya Krugovoy Silver, poet, dies at age 49
Anya Krugovoy Silver, whose searing poems about family, faith, and cancer appeared in the Christian Century, among other publications, died August 6 in Macon, Georgia. She was 49.
A 2018 Guggenheim Fellow for Poetry, she taught English literature at Mercer University. Among the four books of poetry she published are The Ninety-Third Name of God (2010) and Second Bloom (2017).
Her poems related to cancer and its treatment—the way it ravages a body, the relief that a Popsicle can bring—are intertwined with deep, honest questioning of God.
“Making meaning out of suffering and loss,” Silver wrote in a review for the Century, is “one of poetry’s most fundamental aims.”
In a poem published two years after her diagnosis with inflammatory breast cancer in 2004, “After the Biopsy,” she wrote:
The pathology report an icon; the tissue
staining the slide, God’s kaleidoscope.
And those cells, obeying their DNA,
cosmic dust as they whirl and split.
And yet she could not see cancer as a gift. The poem continues, addressing Mary, “This same God / took your son away. Help me disobey.”
She gave birth to a son amid her illness, and addressed him in one of her best-known poems, “Psalm 137 for Noah”: “I wanted your infant kisses, your fists clasped / round my neck. . . . I willed you this woe, this world. / You inherited exile for my sake.”