cover image BLIND HUBER


Nick Flynn, . . Graywolf, $14 (96pp) ISBN 978-1-55597-373-5

Nick Flynn's 1999 debut, Some Ether, was a compelling piece of post- confessionalism, and a runaway success: Flynn depicted his suicidal mother, his vagabond father, and his own grownup torments, phrase by short, sophisticated phrase. This follow-up forsakes Flynn's own biography for that of the blind 18th-century beekeeper Francois Huber, who—with his assistant Burnens—discovered the outlines of what we now know about honeybees. The compact and compelling lyric sequence imagines Huber, Burnens, and the bees themselves as they reveal their nature and their behavior over Huber's long and patient life. Component poems—all in terse and deft free verse—take full advantage of Flynn's real knowledge of apiculture, and of his talent for punchy, self-contained lines. "We pollinate the fields," the bees say in "Queen," "because we are the fields." (Oct.)

Forecast:Though lacking the memoiristic grab of Ether, this volume will still benefit from that one's success—and from Flynn's upcoming prose memoir, which focuses on his homeless father. The new book's unified subject also provides one more hook for feature and interview coverage in national and regional media; expect strong sales if such coverage does emerge.