About the Book
2017 Nautilus Book Award - Silver Medal, Lyrical Prose
2018 Rubery Book Award - Short List, Nonfiction
Grief’s Compass: Walking the Wilderness with Emily Dickinson is a memoir and poetic exploration of loss and healing. Written in a collage of forms—narrative, poetry, and journal entries—it tells how author Patricia McKernon Runkle turned to Emily Dickinson’s letters and poems for perspective on grief after the devastating loss of her brother. As she charts a path through the holy madness of grief and the grace of healing, she asks, What is grief? How do we heal? She finds no stages. Instead, she finds points on a compass and lines from Dickinson that illuminate them. Gently suggesting that we can take our time healing, she becomes the reader’s patient companion. Although Grief’s Compass features Emily Dickinson, it is not an art book or a scholarly work; it is intended to reach a wide audience. It sets grief and healing in the broadest possible context, explores their meaning in direct, accessible images, and tenderly affirms our innate ability to heal.