The Dead Peasant’s Handbook

Following the loose series of Turner’s other recent 2023 publications, The Wild Delight of Wild Things and The Goodbye World Poem, this third book in this “collection” serves as a poetic guide to help us navigate the world we live in. The Dead Peasant’s Handbook begins with the difficulty and hardship of living in the world after losing a loved one before allowing oneself to gravitate again towards delight and wonder. With deep dives into history, the poems traverse the wild terrain of our lives, and it remains ever-constant to the theme at the core of all three recent books—that of love and loss. The poems take their structure from guidebooks, featuring subject areas connected to the general experience of being human: war and conflict, dreams, love and loss, and survival. The book itself takes its title from an insurance industry policy (“Dead Peasants”) in which companies can take out insurance on their workforce in case of loss or death—sometimes without employees knowing. And so, this book is also a commentary on the people and moments that are too often elided over and given the vault of silence, and maybe lost to time.