Reviews in 200 Words

Dear Darkness by Kevin Young

In Poetry on July 21, 2009 at 2:32 am

Dear Darkness could be the name of a well-aged bourbon: warm and intoxicating, a little harsh, but lasting. Sip it. One or two poems at a time. Swirl things around for yourself. You will not be tempted to gulp. These poems are honest—not just for the author, but for everyone—what’s being said here is true, that’s obvious. These are the poems that you make copies of, tell your mother, your brother, your lover: Here, read this. These are the poems that, when read aloud, people nod to and make a small sound at the end of, just to be a part of them. Just to be a part of Young’s world: the Midwest, the South. Just to be the poems: I want to be black / on the weekend— / I want God to root / for the home team. / I want to flood my greens in vinegar / please. / I want everyone / to be named man. / Yes ma’am. I want my cake / & to barbecue, too. These are the poems full of honor. Odes to the important things: hot sauce and scars. Eulogies, blues, funerals and dancing. Food. Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash, Dylan. Pass these poems around; know that they’re addictive.


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