About this item

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. "In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor," he tells us, in one of the collection's piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement ("Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me"), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life's passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in "Crowning," he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing "her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air." Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking "What good/are wishes if they aren't / used up?" while understanding "How to listen / to what's gone.



About the Author

Kevin Young

Kevin Young is an American poet heavily influenced by the poet Langston Hughes and the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (1992-1994) , and received his MFA from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group, The Dark Room Collective. Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Young is the author of Most Way Home, To Repel Ghosts, Jelly Roll, Black Maria, For The Confederate Dead, Dear Darkness, and editor of Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers; Blues Poems; Jazz Poems and John Berryman's Selected Poems. His Black Cat Blues, originally published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, was included in The Best American Poetry 2005. Young's poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other literary magazines. In 2007, he served as guest editor for an issue of Ploughshares. He has written on art and artists for museums in Los Angeles and Minneapolis. His 2003 book of poems Jelly Roll was a finalist for the National Book Award. After stints at the University of Georgia and Indiana University, Young now teaches writing at Emory University, where he is the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing, as well as the curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a large collection of first and rare editions of poetry in English.



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