*Starred Review* Young is adept at netting the sensations of the moment and retrieving the spirit of the past in poems of monumental grief, stoicism, rapture, and sharp humor. In his eighth collection, Young marks the tenth anniversary of his father’s unexpected death, telling the story of the stunned aftermath with striking attunement to the utter transformation of what had been ordinary life. His tone is elegiac as he describes picking up his father’s effects at the hospital. He marvels over the strange munificence of organ donation, and when he acknowledges the poignant kinship he feels with his father’s dogs, he quips, “Brothers in paw.” Young is a virtuoso of succinctness, which in this book has particularly deep resonance: “The grammar of grief / gets written each day / & lost––and learnt again / by stone, by small / sliver, hieroglyph.” As he takes measure of paternal absence, he prepares to become a father, writing with awe of the astonishments of pregnancy and the revelations of ultrasound. From intimate reflections on the mysteries of the body, Young turns his penetrating attention to sky and land as though on a vision quest, tracking the sun and moon, desert and valley, wildflowers and geese in cosmic poems of life’s essentials and the great wheel of existence. He concludes, “Why not sing.” --Donna Seaman
About the Author
Kevin Young is the author of seven previous books of poetry, including Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels
, winner of a 2012 American Book Award, and Jelly Roll
, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the editor of eight other collections, most recently The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink.
Young’s book The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness,
won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times
Notable Book and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and won a PEN Open Book Award. He is currently the Atticus Haygood Professor of Creative Writing and English, curator of Literary Collections and curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.