profiled her upon the publication of her first book of poems, noting that the book "is as uplifting as it is entrenched in the realities of the streets, [and] announces a startling new talent." Booker has developed and deepened the promise of that book, pushing her voice forward without losing what made it special. She says in interviews that she wants to work as a mortician, and while such a choice will probably not provide her with any new material (how many books could you write about working in a mortuary?), one can only imagine that it will help her hone her distinctive voice. The processes of the funeral home are not all that interesting, as it turns out, but the perspective that Booker gained from her years dressing bodies is rare and valuable. She has cultivated a soft compassion and a hard sense of gallows humor, which, when correctly combined, can create great literature and a powerful sense of humanity. Writing a memoir is like doctoring a dead body not only because both force one to reckon with the passage of time, but also because both require a precarious mixture of emotional warmth and cold calculation, which, when one is lucky, reveals something essential about life and death.