Evans_Fight_1200Winner of the 2022 Rattle Chapbook Poetry Prize

The Fight Journal: Poems

The Fight Journal is a heartsick elegy for a failed marriage. Written in couplets that mirror the back-and-forth of two parties alternately warring with each other and struggling to hold a family together, Evans explores the depths of longing, bitterness, resignation, and hope that humanize the struggle to live and parent during and after divorce. As much a story of resolve as it is vulnerability, The Fight Journal is a bittersweet account of the complexities of connection, the power of sympathy, and the many forms that love takes in lives that continue.”

From the Author:

I wrote the poems in The Fight Journal to make sense of an experience about which I felt strongly biased: my divorce. I wanted to recognize the humanity of all involved on the page because this was something I struggled to do in real life. I hoped to find closure, healing, and an answer to two questions. Why had my marriage failed? How had I been complicit in that failure? Adrienne Rich’s “From An Old House in America” was the formal model for the long title poem. Marta Tikkanen’s “The Love Story of the Century” was a precedent for writing about these dynamics. Both poems are personal favorites.

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Should I Still Wish: A Memoir

Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2017

Finalist for a 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award
Selected for the American Lives Series

Should I Still Wish: A Memoir

In this candid and moving memoir, John W. Evans articulates the complicated joys of falling in love again as a young widower.

 “A profoundly moving memoir of love’s recovery. . . . The brilliance of this insightful book is in its honest articulation of great paradox—love can rise complete and uncompromised even as grief endures, and the human heart can belong simultaneously to both life and death, neither of which triumphs forever.”—Jonathan Johnson, author of Hannah and the Mountain: Notes toward a Wilderness Fatherhood

“…While numerous memoirs about reckoning with the loss of a loved one demonstrate the perils of attempting to circumvent grief, Evans’ self-study proves equally instructive in negotiating guilt…Evans’s poignant, authentically disjointed account offers candid insight into the baffling interplay of love, loss, and the balm of memory.”–Kirkus

“Beautifully observed and unstintingly honest, Should I Still Wish tries to make sense of a world rendered senseless by tragedy. Its real brilliance, though, is in its interweaving of sorrow and joy, its examination of what it means to simultaneously mourn an old life and celebrate a new one.”—Katharine Noel, author of Halfway House

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Young Widower A Memoir

Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2014

Winner of a 2014 Foreword Reviews Book Prize
Winner of the 2013 River Teeth Book Prize
Named a Best Book of 2014 by the Iowa City Public Library 

Young Widower: A Memoir

“Grief in all its nuanced complexity is explored in this devastatingly beautiful memoir of love and loss (Young Widower)…While the haunting account of the day Katie died is especially riveting, it is the unfolding and cathartic grieving process that underpins and elevates this heartbreaking tale.”–Margaret Flanagan, Booklist

“Though he vividly recounts the circumstances of Katie’s exceptional death, this is the author’s story, a memoir of grieving and consolations, of trying to define a young widower’s public face and private essence. [Young Widower] is an urgent, palpably emotional account of dealing with extreme grief.”–Kirkus

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The Consolations Front Only

Trio House Press, 2014

Winner of the 2015 Peace Corps Writers Prize
Winner of the 2013 Trio Award for a First or Second Book of Poetry

The Consolations: Poems

“From the mountains of Romania to the streets of the American Midwest, [Evans] renders the physical world with a kind of reverence. Like Gilbert, Evans is interested in mystery and magnitude; he explores sorrow with openness, searching for meaning rather than resolution. The Consolations is a beautiful and exciting collection. Evans harnesses a great power of poetry: in the face of the unspeakable, he finds the words.”–Chloe Honum, On The Seawall

“These powerful poems carve out a unique space between elegy and celebration; describing loss but never yielding to it. They draw the reader into a natural and social world seen and spoken in a vernacular of grief which makes a fresh perspective at every turn. This is a compelling new collection.”–Eavan Boland, author of A Journey With Two Maps

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