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Moving collection of poems by superb American poet and writer Young. Many of the poems address the nation’s continuing “contradictions of our ‘Confederate’ legacy and the troubled [national landscape] where that legacy still lingers.” Published in 2007, these poems were powerful and poignant reading (I read this book twice) in 2020, the year of Black lives Matter, COVID-19, a divided election and so much more.
The Nicodemus sections and the “Elegy for Miss Brooks" particularly shine in this collection by Kevin Young. Young's versatility and his ability to adjust style to subject matter is quite impressive and on display often alternating line length in relations to the content with more brutal poems taking shorter, more clipped lines. This is also highly elegiac, but Young maintains your interest. Good work.
One of the best books of poetry I've read in quite some time. My new favorite poet. Mr. Young edited a collection of poems I quite liked and then in an unrelated search I turned up this book of poems by him. I admit that I got it based on the title.Once I started reading it, however, it was clear that not only is Mr. Young a good judge of other poems, he's very good at writing his own...I'm still working on my ability to review poetry, but I think the key reason why I liked this set of poems is
As with all poetry books, (save Billy Collins ) this was hit-or-miss. I loved Young's similie. That was a high-point for me. I thought Nicodemus was stellar as was The Ballad of Jim Crow. I think my favorite line though comes from West Hell, "How humid the heart, its messy rooms! We eat spicy food, sweat like wood and smolder like the coal mine that caught fire decades ago, yet still smokes more than my great-uncle who will not quit- or go out-"
I quite enjoyed this book. I started it to read in parallel with The Autobiography of Malcolm X and it was very interesting to read these poems through that lens. My favorite poem was probably the one about Lionel Hampton's last concert
Kevin Young always impresses me with how smart his poetry is. This collection features some really nice historical topics, presented with beautiful poems. The next to last section about his fallen friend is the best.
Such beautiful writing, each poem like a ripened springtime bulb or a dark, swollen fruit. The poems from the latter half of the book are among some of its best. After reading this, now when I write poetry of my own I feel that I can't go without some internal rhyme. It's contagious.
All kinds of folklore, history, elegy, precision, elision, satire, music and song wrapped up tight and sprawling in this beautiful collection.
The elegies for his friend were particularly moving and impressive.
First book of poetry that I've bought for pleasure reading in a loooong time. The section "Americana" is my favorite, esp. the title poem and another called, "Signs."
I Read this after Book Of Hours. Hard to hold anything to Book of Hours.