Argyle eased the warm loaf right and left and downed swift gulps of beer and venial sin then lit into the bread now leavened with the corpses's cardinal mischiefs, then he said "Six pence, I'm sorry." and the widow paid him. So opens the unsantioned priesthood of The Sin-Eater: A Breviary - Thomas Lynch's collection of two dozen, twenty-four line poems - a book of hours in the odd life and times of Argyle, the sin-eater. Celtic and druidic, scapegoat and outlier, a fixture in the funerary landscape of former centuries, Argyle's doubt-ridden witness seems entirely relevant to our difficult times. By turns worshipful and irreverent, good-humoried and grim, these poems examine the deeper meanings of Eucharist and grace, forgiveness and faith, atonement and reconcilation.
Thomas Lynch's poems, essays, and stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Granta Poetry, and The Paris Review. His book The Undertaking won the American Book Award, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and was made into an Emmy Award-winning PBS Frontline documentary. He lives in Michigan and in Moveen, County Clare, Ireland. Visit www.thomaslynch.com