It's not unusual for poets to try their hands at pop music-making. Patti Smith was a poet before she was a rock star. In recent years, print-poets such as David Berman and Wyn Cooper have put out more-than-credible song collections. But Mary Karr, known more for prize-winning memoirs such as The Liars Club and Lit than for her excellent poetry, has taken a high-profile risk that's paid off.
Teaming with Rodney Crowell, who once name-checked her in a song, Karr has crafted a series of tunes that, while in the country tradition, convey a lot of Karr's own obsessions with family. Not just songs about fathers and mothers and siblings, but memories of parents and siblings, and how memory and maturity alter the sense of one's own history.
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