cover image My Feelings: Poems

My Feelings: Poems

Nick Flynn. Graywolf (FSG, dist.), $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-55597-710-8

In his fourth poetry collection, poet and memoirist Flynn (The Reenactments) explores appetite and grief, clarity and absurdity, in lines of great technical skill and feeling. In “Kafka,” Kafka’s death is echoed in the worsening condition of the speaker’s father, blending impending familial and legal considerations with the surreal: “And the house, the mansion he/ grew up in, soon a lawyer will pass// a key across a walnut desk, but even this/ lawyer will not be able to tell me where this// mansion is.” While several of the poems address family deaths, Flynn equally interrogates the present as it unfolds, full of as-yet uncertain significances. In “Father, Insect” the speaker’s daughter contemplates her father prior to fatherhood, which leads the speaker to wonder, “When/ did want become more// than hunger, when// did need become more/ than shadow?” Biblical references in what is an intimate collection offer a sense of shared narrative and searching: “Saul was a sailor on the boat to Damascus/ He did not know what he was/ Paul turned to a voice it rose up from the waves/ It chained his boat to the darkness.” Though there is grief and loss in Flynn’s poems, there is comfort in life’s continuity, and the unknowing is rich with possibility. [em](June) [/em]