Ann Bracken
Scarith, 2015
90 Pages
ISBN 978-0-9906939-5-6 Paperback

For BULK ORDERS, order directly from New Academia Publishing.

About the Author

Ann Bracken is a writer, educator, and expressive arts consultant whose poetry, essays, and interviews have appeared in Little Patuxent Review, Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems, Reckless Writing Anthology: Emerging Poets of the 21st CenturyWomen Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, Pif Magazine, ScribbleNew Verse News, and Praxilla. Ann Bracken was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. She serves as a contributing editor for Little Patuxent Review and leads workshops at creativity conferences, including The Creative Problem Solving Institute, Florida Creativity, and Mindcamp of Toronto. Her company, The Possibility Project, offers expressive arts and creativity workshops for women of all ages, as well as poetry workshops in schools. Ann Bracken is a lecturer in the Professional Writing Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.

About the book

The Altar of Innocence is about a mother who is an unfulfilled artist and a daughter who struggles to untangle the web of her mother’s depression, alcoholism, and suicide attempt. As the daughter grows into a woman, she experiences her own confrontation with depression and a crumbling marriage.  Deeply dissatisfied with the explanation of depression as a chemical imbalance in the brain, she peers into her own dark night of the soul and undertakes a spiritual journey.  In order to finally claim her voice, she must overcome the patriarchy of the mental health system, challenge her treatment options, and navigate an increasingly difficult relationship with her husband.  The poems in The Altar of Innocence come from my heart and from the sincere desire to share my journey in the hopes that others may find courage and inspiration.


“Ann Bracken creates a vibrant dialogue with her reader. Her emotional vocabulary is wholeheartedly offered to us like a gift to the world. Bracken’s strength comes from an equilibrium between idea and performance—interior and exterior lives, smartly drawn. With a strong voice, vitally engaged, she presents characters and behavior without judgment. Poetry is the vehicle that makes us laugh and cry at her ‘Altar of Innocence’.”

—Grace Cavalieri, poet and producer of the radio show “The Poet and the Poem” from the Library of Congress”

“The Altar of Innocence offers readers a rare and compassionate look at depression. By telling her mother’s story and sharing her own, Ann Bracken takes us on an intimate journey through two generations of mental illness and ultimate healing. Readers will find hope in her journey.”

— Laura Shovan, Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone, winner of the Harriss Poetry Prize