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Dear Darkness

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Dear Darkness Cover

ISBN13: 9780307264343
ISBN10: 0307264343
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Excerpt

EulogyTo allow silenceTo admit it in usalways movingJust pastsenses, the darknessWhat swallows usand we live amongstWhat lives amongst us*These grim anchorsThat brief sanctitythe seaCast quite farwhen you seek—in your hats blackand kerchiefs—to bury me*Do not weepbut once, and a longtime thenThereafter eat tillyour stomach spills overNo more! youll crytoo full for your eyesto leak*The words will wait*Place me in a plainpine box I have beenfor years buildingIt is splintersnot silverIt is filled of hair*Even the tonguesof bells shall still*You who will bearmy body alongSpirit me into the sixDo not startleat its lack of weightHow lightI shall be releasedWhat we lovewill leave usor is itwe leavewhat we love,I forget—Today, bellyfull enoughto walk the blockafter all weektoo coldoutside to smile—I think of you, warmin your underground roomreading the bookof bone. Its hard going—your body a deadlanguage—Ive begunto feel, if nothope then whatcomes just after—or before—Lets not call itregret, butthis weight,or weightlessness,or justplain waiting.The ice wantingagain water.The streams of two planesa cross fading.I was so busytelling you this I forgotto mention the sky—how in the duskits steely edgeshave just begun to rust.Ode to BoudinYou are the chewing gumof God. You are the reasonI know that skinis only that, holdsmore than it meets.The heart of you is somethingI dont quite getbut dont want to. Evena fool like me can seeyour brokenbeauty, the wayout in this world where mostthings disappear, driveninto ground, you are groundalready, & like riceyou rise. Drunken deacon,sausages half-brother,jambalayas baby mama,you bring me backto the beginning, to where things liveagain. Homemade saviour,you fed me the daymy father sat under flowerswhite as the gloves of pallbearerstossed on his bier.Soon, hands will lower himinto ground richerthan even you.For now, root of allremembrance, your thick chainsets me spinning, thinkingof how, like the small,perfect, possible, silent soulyou spill outlike music, my daddydead, or grief,or both—afterward his sistersmy aunts dancingin the yard to a car radiotuned to zydecobeneath the pecan trees.

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Kirsten Myers, February 6, 2009 (view all comments by Kirsten Myers)
Great to read poems about okra and boudin in the middle of winter in the Northeast. More than that, though, the entire book is filled with poems great to read aloud over and over.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307264343
Subtitle:
Poems
Publisher:
Knopf
Author:
Young, Kevin
Subject:
American - General
Subject:
American poetry
Subject:
Single Author / General
Subject:
Poetry-A to Z
Subject:
Single Author / American
Publication Date:
20080909
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
216
Dimensions:
9.24x6.70x.94 in. 1.08 lbs.

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » American » African American

Dear Darkness
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 216 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307264343 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Perhaps the most prominent African-American poet of his generation, the prolific Young (For the Confederate Dead) begins his sixth book, which gathers sets of independent short poems — some very funny, some heartbreaking, almost all in deftly enjambed, uncommonly various lines — with evocations of his childhood, at once cozy and surrounded by half-secret threats: 'Back/ in the day, my mother cut my afro/ every few months, bathroom layered/ with headlines proclaiming the world's end.' Young then launches into odes to foods, many (but not all) of them from African-American traditions: 'I know you're the blues/ because loving you/ may kill me,' says 'Ode to Pork.' Other work finds lessons in country and country-rock music ('On Being the Only Black Person at the Johnny Paycheck Concert'). For all the humor, and all the autobiography, in this big book, Young digs deepest and sounds most powerful when he returns to the unlucky, unlovely, generalized personae of blues, who become in his hands at once a source of energy and a means for elegy: 'Let me be what/ dust has to be, settling// over everything,' he says in the bluesy 'Lullaby,' '& I promise to dream// of new houses & old/ loves no longer.' (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "Per page, per ounce, per dollar — whatever your preferred unit of measurement, Kevin Young must surely be one of the best entertainment values in today's poetry world. His books seethe with energy and ambition, frequently casting expansionist glances toward other genres, as if they are not quite content with being poetry books and want to assimilate nearby (or not-so-nearby) modes of culture as well." (read the entire San Francisco Chronicle review)
"Review" by , "Ultimately, the collection effectively becomes an exercise in soul-searching even as it eulogizes Young's father. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Young reaches for myth but cant resist wit, paying hilarious tribute to aunties and uncles, dealing in double entendres, capturing the topsy-turvy, otherworldly ambience of Las Vegas. And even while deeply mourning for his father, he pulls a Neruda and writes funny, sly odes to the ordinary, focusing on food, metaphors for desire, the life force, and deaths endless consumption."
"Synopsis" by , Las Vegas, Nashville, despair, the Midwest, “Bar-B-Q Heaven” and his familys Louisiana home: these are the American places that Kevin Young visits in his powerful, heartfelt sixth book of poetry. Begun as a reflection on family and memory, Dear Darkness became a book of elegies after the sudden death of the poets father, a violent event that silenced Young with grief until he turned to rhapsodizing about the food that has sustained him and his Louisiana family for decades. Flavorful, yet filled with sadness, these stunningly original odes—to gumbo, hot sauce, crawfish, and even homemade wine—travel adeptly between slow-cooked tradition and a new direction, between everyday living and transcendent sorrow.

As in his prizewinning Jelly Roll, Young praises and grieves in one breath, paying homage to his significant clan—to “aunties” and “double cousins” and a great-grandfathers grave in a segregated cemetery—even as he mourns. His blues expand to include a series of poems contemplating the deaths of Johnny Cash, country rocker Gram Parsons, and a host of family members lost in the past few years. Burnished by loss and a hard-won humor, he delivers poems that speak to our cultural griefs even as he buries his own. “Sadder than / a wedding dress / in a thrift store,” these are poems which grow out of hunger and pain but find a way to satisfy both; Young counts his losses and our blessings, knowing “inside / anything can sing.”

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