Let Me Count the Ways


Let Me Count the Ways

A Memoir

Tomás Q. Morín

American Lives Series

198 pages


March 2022


$19.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Growing up in a small town in South Texas in the eighties and nineties, poverty, machismo, and drug addiction were everywhere for Tomás Q. Morín. He was around four or five years old when he first remembers his father cooking heroin, and he recalls many times he and his mother accompanied his father while he was on the hunt for more, Morín in the back seat keeping an eye out for unmarked cop cars, just as his father taught him. It was on one of these drives that, for the first time, he blinked in a way that evolution hadn’t intended.

Let Me Count the Ways is the memoir of a journey into obsessive-compulsive disorder, a mechanism to survive a childhood filled with pain, violence, and unpredictability. Morín’s compulsions were a way to hold onto his love for his family in uncertain times until OCD became a prison he struggled for decades to escape. Tender, unflinching, and even funny, this vivid portrait of South Texas life challenges our ideas about fatherhood, drug abuse, and mental illness.

Author Bio

Tomás Q. Morín is on the faculty at Rice University and Vermont College of Fine Arts. He is the author of the poetry collections Machete, Patient Zero, and A Larger Country. He is the coeditor with Mari L’Esperance of the anthology Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, Slate, Poetry, Threepenny Review, and Narrative.


“In this fearsome, beautiful memoir, Tomás Q. Morín takes us on ‘a journey exploring the limits of suffering and love.’ Those are the words he uses to praise a fellow poet, but the story of his upbringing is just such a wild trip. The young Tomás constantly searches for the right words to say to his beloveds, his abusers. And in Let Me Count the Ways, every episode is a prose poem.”—Maxine Hong Kingston, author of China Men and The Woman Warrior

Let Me Count the Ways is an origin poem wrapped in a travel essay, rocking the full wings of fiction. This means it is a memoir, a stunning memoir about the worn glory of counting up, counting down, and counting in. It is simply the layered work of a soulful magician welcoming us behind our own curtains. Genius.”—Kiese Laymon, author of Heavy: An American Memoir

Table of Contents

On Counting
In Our Own Way
On Names
Happy Families
On Being
Quiet Need
On Intrusive Thoughts
Childhood’s Faith
On Names Again
How Do I Love Thee?

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