Thomas Lynch (born 1948 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American poet, essayist, and undertaker.
Heather Grace is Thomas Lynch’s daughter. Thomas Lynch is the father of four children. He is an undertaker. He gets his living as an undertaker in the small midwestern town of Milford, Michigan. He does his work and he comes hone to look after his four children. If Thomas Lynch did not look after his four children, then they would not be looked after. Like the poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams, before him, Thomas Lynch works in the world of real things. Like Stevens, like Williams, Lynch does the kind of work that makes him look at death — week in, week out, year in, year out. Fur fourteen years, Thomas Lynch has been looking at death and then coming home to give life to Heather Grace and others.
Lynch was educated by nuns and Christian Brothers at Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Lynch then went to university and mortuary school, from which he graduated in 1973. He took over his father's funeral home in Milford, Michigan in 1974, a job he has held ever since. Lynch married in 1972 and divorced in 1984. He later remarried to Mary Tata in 1991. He has a daughter and three sons.
In 1970 Lynch went to Ireland for the first time, to find his family and read William Butler Yeats and James Joyce, an experience he recounts in his book Booking Passage: We Irish and Americans. He has returned many times since then, and now owns the small cottage in West Clare that was the home of his great-great-grandfather, and which was given as a wedding gift in the 19th century. He spends a portion of each year there.
His collection of essays, The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade, won the Heartland Prize for non-fiction, the American Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. It has been translated into seven languages. A second collection of essays, Bodies in Motion and at Rest, won the Great Lakes Book Award.
- Skating with Heather Grace. Knopf. 1987.
- Grimalkin and Other Poems. Cape Poetry. 1994.
- Still Life in Milford: Poems. W. W. Norton & Company. 1999. ISBN 978-0-393-31973-6.
- Walking Papers: Poems 1999–2009. W. W. Norton & Company. 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-04208-5.
- The Sin-eater: A Breviary. Parclete Press. 2013. / Salmon Publishing (Ireland). 2012.