By Monica Youn
Graywolf Press, Paperback, 9781555977504, 88pp.
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
* Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award in Poetry *
* A Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Top 10 Poetry Selection *
* One of Brooklyn Magazine's 100 Books to Read in 2016 *
Blackacre is a centuries-old legal fiction a placeholder name for a hypothetical estate. Treacherously lush or alluringly bleak, these poems reframe their subjects as landscape, as legacy a bereavement, an intimacy, a racial identity, a pubescence, a culpability, a diagnosis. With a surveyor's keenest tools, Youn marks the boundaries of the given, what we have been allotted: acreage that has been ruthlessly fenced, previously tenanted, ploughed and harvested, enriched and depleted. In the title sequence, the poet gleans a second crop from the field of Milton's great sonnet on his blindness: a lyric meditation on her barrenness, on her own desire her own struggle to conceive a child. What happens when the transformative imagination comes up against the limits of unalterable fact?