Night Thoughts and Henry Vaughan

David Young, Author Ohio State University Press $44.5 (63p) ISBN 978-0-8142-0652-2
The setting for Young's (Earthshine) astonishing new book is northern Ohio in early August; specifically, the night of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The book is comprised of two poems. The first, ``Henry Vaughan,'' serves as a brief gateway into the longer, more hypnotic poem, ``Night Thoughts.'' Fittingly, it's midnight in the first stanza; we are introduced to ``a blue Ohio night'' and a gardener who produces a box of Ohio Blue Tip matches and tells us: ``I'm going to put you in this matchbox now/ and take you for a stroll around my yard.'' And so we follow through six sections of poems, each of these extended one hour deeper into ``this carbon dark,/ this diamondback night,'' with Young striking verbal matches along the way to illuminate everything from a Japanese beetle trap to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. What is extraordinary about the poem as it moves into early morning is its ability to suddenly shift into new and more urgent meditations without losing narrative coherence. This is owing to Young's language, rich with detail, never perfunctory. The book is the recipient of the 1994 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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FORMATS
Paperback - 63 pages - 978-0-8142-0653-9
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