Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Winner, chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey

Oregon Book Award Finalist, chosen by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky

National Bestseller, Poetry Foundation’s contemporary bestseller list


Threshold is a searing portrait of healing, the courage it takes to bridge the gulfs that divide, and the wonder of the ties that bind. Throughout the collection, the narrator experiences several acts of threshing, or separating—from birth and the small yet profound distances that part a mother and child, to the separation caused by illness and its toll on relationships. At the same time, she is progressively gathering, piecing together the remnants of her life, collecting her children into her arms, and welcoming a future without pain. Pain is often present in these poems, as the narrator frequently confronts her own threshold for enduring a ravaging illness. Her harrowing struggle through recovery is chronicled by a poem at the end of each section, tracing her powerful journey from deep suffering to a fragile yet steadfast sense of hope.

Threshold sparkles with a shaped brilliance. Each poem is intensely believable because there isn’t a decorous flare of language here. To cross the threshold is to (pro)claim the metaphysical that resides in the everyday.”
—Yusef Komunyakaa, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

“Throughout this lovely book, the music of survival and transcendence undergirds a song of the body in its changes.”
—Natasha Trethewey, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

Threshold weaves domestic details—children, neighbors, ordinary moments—into an extraordinary account of pain and survival. But what appears to be, at first, a fractured narrative of turmoil, heals in the craft of these poems, into an account of a mind growing in and through language. Finally, this is what makes Threshold such an exceptional collection.”
—Eavan Boland

“Jennifer Richter’s tender, sorrowful poems delve deep into the body—celebrating the power of motherhood as they lament the body in pain, the body hurt. Threshold is a testament to Richter’s strength as a skilled and courageous poet determined to tell it in luminous verse, no matter what.”
—Dorianne Laux

“These are bravely revealing poems whose art, attention to detail, and high regard for irony allow them to rise above being simply a record of one’s health problems and instead are shockingly illustrative of the journey that illness can become. In the end the journey of pain becomes a journey of self-knowledge and widening compassion.”
—Bruce Weigl

ISBN: 978-0809329656