Reviews in 200 Words

The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing Edited by Kevin Young

In Poetry on November 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm
When a storm rolls in–especially on a lake, or in the plains, when you’re exposed and at the mercy of the elements–you tend to realize how small your life is. This book is an impressive storm. These poets, moving together by the same set of emotions, are something huge–something violent and heartbreaking, and somehow cleansing. Kevin Young mentions in his introduction that he was surprised that this book didn’t already exist. Poets writing about grief and loss, life and death, is about as obvious as their wardrobe full of black. But it is obvious–it’s the natural process of coping–it’s what we hope we have the ability to do when it’s our turn to hurt. The collection is broken into sections: reckoning, regret, remembrance, ritual, recovery and redemption. Everything from Dickinson’s “After great pain, a formal feeling comes…” to Young’s own “Redemption Song.” The process is delicate and nuanced. To read this is not masochistic—not at all—it is the realization of poetry: the acknowledgment of the healing it brings in.

-Micah Ling

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