Sebastian Matthews

Beginner's Guide to a Head-On Collision

The award-winning author of In My Father’s Footsteps combines prose and poetry in a poignant memoir that captures the aftershocks of a tragic car accident.
Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision offers the deeply moving poetic memoir of Sebastian Matthews’s life in the years after the car accident that devastated him and his wife and son. The poems, which often read like electric improvised prayer-songs, intimately evoke the terrors and wonders of catastrophic physical injury and of ‘life re-booted.’ They are disturbing, eerie poems that embody the paradoxes of being The Dead Man at the crossing. They are amazingly honest in their hopeful, mystical sense of fate. In this unforgettable book, the reader is present at the scene of the accident where the hovering spirit that has departed the body addresses the living person re-entering his brokenness and answering for his transcendent awareness.” —Kevin McIlvoy, author of Hyssop
“These poems detail both physical and spiritual misery, and though suffering can turn us into many things, Matthews—our banged-up storyteller, singer, docent—strives to deliver himself back to a body of affection, intimacy, and kindness. Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision is a remarkable record of that difficult journey.” —Patrick Rosal, author of Brooklyn Antediluvian
“By reading Beginner’s Guide to a Head-on Collision we learn how to go in and out of the body as necessary and, in order to take in the possibility of a larger life, how to wrest from breakage release from our thin views of who we are.” —Vievee Francis, author of Forest Primeval
35 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
Red Hen Press
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