Read For the Confederate Dead by Kevin Young Free Online
Book Title: For the Confederate Dead|
The author of the book: Kevin Young
ISBN 13: 9780375711411
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.71 MB
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Loaded: 1141 times
Reader ratings: 3.7
Date of issue: September 9th 2008
Read full description of the books:
One of the best books of poetry I've read in quite some time. My new favorite poet.
Mr. Young edited a collection of poems I quite liked and then in an unrelated search I turned up this book of poems by him. I admit that I got it based on the title.
Once I started reading it, however, it was clear that not only is Mr. Young a good judge of other poems, he's very good at writing his own...
I'm still working on my ability to review poetry, but I think the key reason why I liked this set of poems is because the imagery is so simple but it does the job. For instance, take this poem, "Banesborough" from a section entitled "Americana":
The Werewolf family moved
next door without a word
or wave. The situation, hairy,
scared me--once a month
the men bloating, became
as their cars for sound, Howling
Wolf on the stereo, wailing
they rode around. From my window
you can see the women at
a loss, pacing between
cracks in the blinds--
under moonlight they fret
for where their sons,
husbands be at
woofing, drinking for weeks
of work away, their beards
grown in beyond regulation, hair wild
as their lawns tall as The Plant--
poisonous flytrap--that keeps threatening
to shut on down.
In that same section, there's a poem called signs that artistically places together roadside signs, such as "He Who Takes the Son/Gets It All" followed by "Young's Pawn/& Gun". This is exactly the kind of modern(?) poetry that works so very well for me throughout this collection.
Most of the poems are part of a themed section, such as the above-named Americana, The Ballad of Jim Crow, and African Elegy, a set of poems about a friend who passed away and dealing with the loss. Each section has its own feel, appropriate to the material.
There's a big difference between the opening of "Nativity" from Jim Crow:
Known by four score
& seven names, Jim Crow
with a silver bullet
in his hand. Some say
on a gambling boat,
others say he met the world
at home, in a shotgun
shack. For certain
his left hand clutched
a tin nickel
swallowed by his mother
so the taxman
couldn't touch it.
That boy was all
to the opening of "The News [Stop That Train]" from the African Elegy section:
When you died I was reading Whitman
While you died I was miles away,
thousands of deserts and oceans
and mountains and plain.
One is guttural, short, and ready to discuss the ugliness of the subject being used as an allegory. The other is soft, gentle, and rolling, full of introspection and discussion of a subject sure to be hard for the writer to express. Rather than try to shoehorn his style into the poetic story he wishes to tell, Mr. Young adjusts his style to fit the story. This might be part of why he was so good at editing that poetry anthology--since his style can change as needed, he was able to read a wide variety of style and include them in his editorial work. I'm not saying he has no style, I guess what I'm going for is that the style he uses is not as rigid as some other poets I've read over the years, and that, to me, is why he's so good. He can quote Whitman and write descriptive poems yet also use fragments to tell his story, something Whitman would never try. (I feel myself falling into a trap of lack of reviewer ability here, so I think I'll stop before I dig a deeper hole for myself.)
This ability to adapt is, to me, is what makes Mr. Young a great poet, and I hope for a long and prosperous career for him. I'm glad to have gotten to know his work early on, and I hope you will, too. (Library, 06/07)
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Read information about the authorKevin Young is an American poet heavily influenced by the poet Langston Hughes and the art of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Young graduated from Harvard College in 1992, was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University (1992-1994), and received his MFA from Brown University. While in Boston and Providence, he was part of the African-American poetry group, The Dark Room Collective.
Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Young is the author of Most Way Home, To Repel Ghosts, Jelly Roll, Black Maria, For The Confederate Dead, Dear Darkness, and editor of Giant Steps: The New Generation of African American Writers; Blues Poems; Jazz Poems and John Berryman's Selected Poems.
His Black Cat Blues, originally published in The Virginia Quarterly Review, was included in The Best American Poetry 2005. Young's poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and other literary magazines. In 2007, he served as guest editor for an issue of Ploughshares. He has written on art and artists for museums in Los Angeles and Minneapolis.
His 2003 book of poems Jelly Roll was a finalist for the National Book Award.
After stints at the University of Georgia and Indiana University, Young now teaches writing at Emory University, where he is the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing, as well as the curator of the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library, a large collection of first and rare editions of poetry in English.
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