cover image The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing

The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing

, . . Bloomsbury, $22 (311pp) ISBN 978-1-60819-033-1

Young (Dear Darkness ) is not only a prolific and acclaimed poet, but also the editor of several anthologies of poems, by African-American poets, inspired by the blues and jazz, and from the body of work by John Berryman. This latest anthology is his most topical, and, perhaps, his most useful, gathering poems about suffering and overcoming loss. Organized around subjects such as “Regret,” “Remembrance,” and “Ritual,” this book includes poets both canonical and contemporary, with perhaps a refreshingly larger helping of the latter: poets like Marianne More, Philip Larkin, and Elizabeth Bishop join newer names like D.A. Powell, Matthew Dickman, and Meghan O'Rourke; there are also plenty of reigning masters, like Louise Glück. “Death is nature's way/ of telling you to be quiet,” writes Franz Wright, somewhat harshly. With calmer acceptance, Theodore Roethke reminds us of the need to “wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.” While these poems won't offer easy answers to grief, they will keep the kind of company that only poetry can, because only poetry can convincingly say, as Ruth Stone does in the last poem of this book, “All things come to an end./ No, they go on forever.” (Mar.)