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Book of Hours: Poems Hardcover – March 4, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307272249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307272249
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*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.

More About the Author

Kevin Young is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Dear Darkness, named one of the Best Books of 2008 by National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Award in poetry. His book Jelly Roll: A Blues was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Paterson Poetry Prize. He is the editor of four other volumes, including Blues Poems, Jazz Poems, and the Library of America's John Berryman: Selected Poems. The curator of literary collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library and Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, Young lives in Boston and Atlanta.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alarie Tennille on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This beautiful, inspiring, warm, engaging, and (hallelujah!) accessible collection of poems captures what it means to be human. Young opens his heart, shares his own vulnerability, and uses his musical language to pull us in. We see ourselves in these pages. In “Bereavement,” he lets us witness his grief through his father’s dogs: “Their grief is colossal/& forgetful./Each day they wake/seeking his voice,/their names./By dusk they seem/to unremember everything…” He balances the poems of death and sorrow with joy in poems about his wife’s pregnancy and son’s birth. He concludes with the section titled “Book of Hours.” Here the poems become a bit more abstract and lyrical. To me they seem almost like psalms, a soothing way to end this emotional book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terre Johnson on May 30, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was interested in reading this after seeing a poem featured on one the literary emails I subscribe to... Yes, I bought the hardcover edition based upon the strength of ONE POEM. It was THAT good.
Well, thankfully, I was not disappointed in the entire tome. Young depicts life, beautiful, tragic, funny, sad, in all its awkwardness and ennui and beauty, and I relate, deeply.
Excellent work. I am a fan. And I will be collecting his other works, as long as he keeps writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luyseyal on May 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Do not judge this book by its Stephen Colbert-esqe jacket. It is a fine work, heavy and pulling on the soul. Like all poetry of consequence, one cannot sit down and blast through it. Drink it in like a quality espresso: one sip at a time. Mull the emotion and themes. When the piece is more abstract or imagery-focused, swell and sway as the images in your mind leap from word to word.

When you do, you will feel the pain, the art-as-suffering, the little joys. The gravitas of time spent as a human being.

Kevin Young gets it and I look forward to diving into more of his works.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the theme of this book and how it was written to help the author in the grieving of his father that had passed. I heard about it on NPR and the author read some of the poems. It sounded great on the radio, so I ended up buying it for my partner to help him cope with the loss of his own father. So far, he likes it and appreciates this kind of writing.
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