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At first, I wasn’t feeling it with these poems, many felt too prosaic instead of poetic. There are nostalgic descriptions of days gone by, loving memories of relatives, farms, Big Wheels, and souped-Up Camaros, and they are interesting, but don’t reach me in the way that I want poetry to reach me.Tuff BuddiesNo sign or behind warming could keep us from careening down hills or popping wheelies; the blue brake on our Big Wheel only helped us peel out, skid. Robert & I were Tuff Buddies, friends fo...
A really lovely collection of poems, many of which circle around death in some way. Many, many odes—Young often uses odes as a way to memorialize a loved one (ode as entry point of elegy) and his language is crisp and sassy and right on.
This collection of poetry is dedicated to two close family members so it is no surprise that much of it focuses on the importance of family, the setting of his youth and the food that nourished his poetic soul so that he could one day make words do what he does with them.
Liked it. It was a bit uneven as a collection when compared to _Black Maria_ or _Jelly Roll_: some poems were brilliant, others were so-so. But when he's good, he's very very good.
This was a relatively short book of poetry. Very quick read. That being said, while there were several poems that I enjoyed due to the imagery, most of it wasn't something that I could relate to. Being from Texas, I just don't really identify with Louisianan culture, and that's the bulk of the poems. So, while there are many who will appreciate this book, unfortunately, I'm not one of them. The poems themselves are quality, and the writing is great, it's just not my thing.
This collection is almost 200 pages. Again, with the autobiographical arc--what is it about poetry this year (2008)? Easily digestible little poems, short-lines, most just one-page long. Although these poems are clearing about Young's family--see inscription and family photos on the jacket cover--there's lots to love here. Good imaginative leaps, precise word choice, and musicality. Ambitious work, very surprising.
Just, beautiful. Spare but world-building. Dark but playful. Deeply personal while keeping the reader a foot away with clever wordplay and metaphor, like these lines from "Bachelorhood": "Phone / off the hook, pretending / busy--better that, than this silence / what won't quit ringing." "Pallbearing" is a masterpiece. Just, beautiful.PallbearingOde to My ScarsChildhoodBachelorhoodSlow Drag BluesOde to Sweet Potato Pie
I would guess that in the course of my first reading I read every poem two or three times, trying not to miss a drop of all the goodness. I loved all the odes to food, the many blues, and the deep God-talk going on here too. And as this was from the library, I immediately bought it and his earlier collection, *Jelly Roll.*
I love Young's ability to take the most ordinary of experiences (like favorite foods, upon which he draws repeatedly in this volume) and seamlessly move in and out of expressing deeper grief, memory, and joy. This is a beautifully composed collection and a sweet invitation to enter into the sorrow of loss in a most human and personal way without getting lost in the muck.
There is so much love in these poems. Love for Young's family, his heritage, for language. My only real quibble is with the poem "Ode to my Sex," because I really am not interested in reading a man literally compare his penis to a god. It's just . . . typical.
I'd read a whole book that was just Young's odes to various foods. And then I'd get hungry and, subsequently, big boned.
One of the best contemporary collections of poetry I've ever read.
A swift and lovely read.Prosaic with an occassional WHOP of deeply poetic beauty.
This collection isn't as cohesive as the other 2 collections by Young I've read (Jelly Roll and Book of Hours). The poems in those other collections all revolved around one singular theme and there was more of a clear momentum that moved the reader along from start to finish. Instead, this collection has several different themes (music, food, family, death, grief, regional identity) that tie some of the poems to each other, along with a number of poems that are less directly related to any of th...
Kevin Young speaks with deep love as a son of the African American South (and won't it be nice when the "conversation" gets to the point where we don't have to qualify the South). As you read through these poems you'll find yourself flipping to the back cover photo, discovering new details in the portrait of Young's father and grandfather. Here's a taste:"...You dan't date/ the photo from either face--/ my grandfather baked/ dark from the fields, my father's/ baby fat holding up glasses/ the onl...
Despite the title, Dear Darkness is much lighter and more humorous than Young’s recent Book of Hours, which had already secured him a place on my Top Ten Poets list. Perhaps the other book has more universal appeal, but Dear Darkness sure did delight this Southerner. My favorite poems (and there were many) were mostly about family [“Aunties,” “Uncles (Blood),” “Uncles (Play)”] or about Southern food. I saw my own family in “Ode to Pork,” “Ode to Kitchen Grease,” “Song of Cracklin,” and “Ode to H...
In this heartfelt volume of poems, Young explores subjects that range from homage to his large, extended family and grief over the loss of his father to the solace he finds in celebrating the foods and meals that sustained the camaraderie of his family. Whatever challenges Young faces, his poems reach out with a questioning and yearning for answers. As he revisits painful memories from his past, he is never afraid to show his vulnerability, for he knows his poetry serves as catharsis. Young’s tr...
I read Book of Hours before this, which on the strength of that collection enticed me to read everything by Kevin Young I could find. This collection had its moments, but Book of Hours was so good that I treated it like a page-turner wondering if he could keep up the sublime pace and heaviness of subject. Book of Hours did. Dear Darkness had its moments but with a collection containing so many poems, it's bound to be uneven in spots. I thought it interesting in that it used food to explore the f...
I heard Kevin Young read a few of the odes at AWP Atlanta and have eagerly awaited the release of this collection since then. I found it heartbreaking and brilliant. The mixture of odes to food as remembrances to a time past mixed in with the longing that comes from the death of his father are just amazing. Young has such a grasp with language. He knows how to make a poem sing, and these definitely do. I never wanted it to end.
Where else can you experience an ode to chitlins, crawfish, and greens? Loved the poems about family and the 70s nostalgia of it all. A poem about riding your Big Wheel and hurrying inside so as not to miss The Love Boat and Fantasy Island is not to be missed. Poignant poems about family and loss as well.
I really loved this book. I haven't read much poetry, much less modern poetry but I found this book delightful. I enjoyed the whimsical Odes to various Southern foods. I felt the emotion of the various refrains about the poet's late father. Together this collection of poems moved me.
I've read a lot of Kevin Young by now and this was the best so far. His autobiographical story poems are sad and beautiful; his many odes to soul foods and body parts are hilarious and touching. Count me as a huge fan!
Maybe not quite as good as his other books but still pretty great. Still my favorite modern poet.
If you like Kevin's work, you will love this! Wonderful odes!
Pretty good stuff. I didn't read all of them, but what I did read helped give me a feel for the poet's voice and the way he sees and feels.
hot damn! i loved it.
I think I'm done with Kevin Young. This seemed like a book of poems that wouldn't fit in any of his other books.
Although individual poems, this is a beautiful memoir of his family - sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions. A great read some of which you'll return to for a second or third look.
Odes and elegies to pepper vinegar, black-eyed peas, gumbo and boudin? I think that says it all. A heartfelt, playful, biting and elegant collection of poetry.