Autumn Song


Autumn Song

Essays on Absence

Patrice Gopo

American Lives Series

200 pages


September 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

September 2023


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

We all live lives littered with what we leave behind: places we once lived, friendships we once had, dreams we once envisioned, the people we once were. Each new day we attempt to find a way to continue living despite the absences we experience because of loss and disappointment, injustice and inequity, change and the passage of time.  

Autumn Song: Essays on Absence invites readers into one Black woman’s experiences encountering absences, seeing beyond the empty spaces, and grasping at the glimmers of glory that remain. In a world marred with brokenness, these glimmers speak to the possibility of grieving losses, healing heartache, and allowing ourselves to be changed.

Author Bio

Patrice Gopo is the author of All the Colors We Will See, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, and All the Places We Call Home. She lives with her family in North Carolina, where she enjoys walks just after dawn and thinks a perfect day ends with ice cream. Please visit to learn more.


“This gorgeous collection of essays about home and belonging casts a spell on me, with its gentle yet sharp observations and evocative sense of place. Like an alchemist, Patrice Gopo transforms ordinary moments into reflections on stillness and process. She investigates the destruction of a historically Black neighborhood in her town and explores the complicated nature of interracial relationships. Underlying these contemplative essays is an urgency to make sense of a world that often feels chaotic and frightening. Autumn Song: Essays on Absence is a necessary book, one I will return to again and again.”—Geeta Kothari, author of I Brake for Moose and Other Stories

“Patrice Gopo deftly plunges the reader into a life that weaves the personal with the political—and spotlights patterns of beauty amid the chaotic and often racist American fabric, both past and present. Gopo’s prose is vivid and gorgeous. I remembered her memories and her family long after I finished the book.”—Devi S. Laskar, author of The Atlas of Reds and Blues and Circa

“Patrice Gopo brings a contemplative eye and heart to the small but poignant details that comprise the miracle of everyday life. Though subtitled Essays on Absence, Autumn Song displays a hopeful focus on what is present and affirming: the warmth of a grandmother’s embrace, the exquisite sound of snow melting, the quiet triumph of a deer shaking itself free after being stuck in a fence. Such observations hold the frequency of the book as the pandemic lockdown shrinks the world and casts events such as the death of George Floyd into stark light. Walking through these essays with Gopo is a profound and gratifying journey.”—Sophfronia Scott, author of The Seeker and the Monk: Everyday Conversations with Thomas Merton

“With startling finesse and unmooring insight, Autumn Song: Essays on Absence will recalibrate your senses to understand there actually is no such thing as void or emptiness at all. Inside perceived absence, there is invitation for seizing, reconsidering, and creating new lexicons of poetic logic. These essays are treasures, tendered by Patrice Gopo’s rare gaze of lyrical precision. Autumn Song is an ode to the artistry of seeing oneself in a world of fast glances and forgotten histories.”—Lisa Factora-Borchers, author, activist, and editor of Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence

Table of Contents

By Way of Explanation
Blueberry Season
Winter’s Breakup
That Autumn
Between Mountains and Water
Dispatches from a Walking Life
Stones of Remembrance
Raised to Life
I Think My Grandmother Has Forgotten
When the Challenger Exploded
A Moment Leads to an Essay
And There Will Be Imprints, and There Will Be Gifts
A Brief Statement on Grace
A Small-Scale Scavenger Hunt for Sight
More Than Tea
Single-Family Zoning Considered
The Blooming of Mournful Things
What Is Common, What Is Rare
Our Words at a Moment in Time
Two Field Guides
My Pandemic Days: March–July 2020
Anticipating Autumn
By Way of Conclusion
Source Acknowledgments
Author Comments

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