Stones

Kevin Young. Knopf, $27 (128p) ISBN 978-1-5247-3256-1
With superbly crafted poems that engage the past and the present, Young (Brown: Poems) delivers another ambitious collection across seven lyrically powerful sections. The book's epigraph, "the stones hope to remember," signals Young's interest in history and memorializing, echoed in "Ivy," which ends on "the quiet/ of this place, the graves/ awaiting names," and in "Sting," "the agony/ of growing, the great/ effort, trying// not to die." Graves prove a powerful motif throughout. In "Vault," Young recalls his toddler son, who "skips stone// to stone, hollering happily/ on the slabs with bodies/ unmarked beneath." In the subsequent poem, "Boneyard," the image grows more historically complicated, "Like heat he seeks them,/ my son, thirsting/ to learn those/ he don't know/ are his dead." "Grief's evergreen," he announces in "Spruce," but there is ample hope across the collection, too, most of it derived from love. "Till the end/ we sing/ into the wind," he writes in "Dolor," while other poems emphasize the redeeming roles of family and parenting. These elegant, measured poems offer insight into the troubled moment through an exhumation of the past, while giving the reader plenty of depth and beauty to carry into the future. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/16/2021
Release date: 09/21/2021
Genre: Poetry
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5247-3257-8
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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