Book of Hours

By Kevin Young
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307272249, 185pp.)

Publication Date: March 4, 2014

List Price: $26.95*
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Description
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." Young's frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life's mysteries.



About the Author
Kevin Young is the author of five previous collections of poetry. His book "Jelly Roll "was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and won the Paterson Poetry Prize. His most recent collection, "For the Confederate Dead," won the 2007 Quill Award for poetry. He has also been the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and is currently the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing and curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.


NPR
Tuesday, Mar 4, 2014

The poet describes his new book â?? about the death of his father and the birth of his son â?? as having a blues sensibility. "There are moments of humor even in the sorrow," he says. More at NPR.org

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