Keep This To Yourself


Kerrin McCadden, 2020.

Winner, 2018 Button Poetry Prize.


In Keep This To Yourself, grief is a violent machine, with each new poem Kerrin McCadden unscrews every bolt of this grief until it falls apart.

McCadden cuts through the many layers of loss as she writes about how it moves through her family like a sickness. What good is silence in the face of trauma? McCadden plunges into the truth, and shows us the world on the other side.


Praise for Keep This To Yourself

Kerrin McCadden writes of the overdose death of her brother, and she writes with the sense that nothing can be taken back. Again and again, she loses him, finds him broken, and attempts to put him together. Masterfully wrought, tender as it is honest and unflinching, Keep This to Yourself is not so much about grief, as grief itself.

—Rodney Jones, author of Village Prodigies

To put one foot in front of the other after losing a loved one to opioid addiction requires incredible courage. To make harrowing and beautiful poems from the desperation that unfurls through a family for years, unfurls, in this case, toward death, is a miracle. From the book’s very title the reader becomes part of the secrecy upon which addiction feeds. There is love here, deep and everlasting and bitter too. How can it not be bitter? If you’ve not been there, turn to these poems for their artfulness, their exquisite crafting. If you have, turn to them for camaraderie, for the blessing of company. Kerrin McCadden does not build toward false redemption, nor does she rob herself of her sadness. My God, she’s already been robbed of a brother.

—Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl

In this devastating sequence of poems, Kerrin McCadden transforms tragedy into myth. A river runs through this book, as well as the promise to come clean, which we sense can only end one way. A storm named heroin has taken possession of a family, as it has taken possession of many families—these poems are as close as I’ve come to standing inside this brittle, incomprehensible moment.

—Nick Flynn, author of I Will Destroy You

Keep This To Yourself is devastating, fierce and very, very essential reading. I can’t say it better than the great Maya Angelou did: McCadden’s poetry “slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

—Beth Macy, author of Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America

About Kerrin McCadden

Kerrin McCadden is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes (New Issues Poetry & Prose 2014), winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize and the Vermont Book Award. An NEA Fellow and Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award winner, her work… MORE

Additional information

Weight2.5 oz
Dimensions8.5 × 5.5 × 0.125 in

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Page Count

40 pages

Publication Date

March 24, 2020

Author Hometown

Montpelier, Vermont



eBook ISBN