Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing

Overview

The Art of Losing is the first anthology of its kind, delivering poetry with a purpose. Editor Kevin Young has introduced and selected 150 devastatingly beautiful poems that embrace the pain and heartbreak of mourning. Divided into five sections (Reckoning, Remembrance, Rituals, Recovery, and Redemption), with poems by some of our most beloved poets as well as the best of the current generation of poets, The Art of Losing is the ideal gift for a loved one in a time of need and for use by therapists, ministers, ...

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The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing

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Overview

The Art of Losing is the first anthology of its kind, delivering poetry with a purpose. Editor Kevin Young has introduced and selected 150 devastatingly beautiful poems that embrace the pain and heartbreak of mourning. Divided into five sections (Reckoning, Remembrance, Rituals, Recovery, and Redemption), with poems by some of our most beloved poets as well as the best of the current generation of poets, The Art of Losing is the ideal gift for a loved one in a time of need and for use by therapists, ministers, rabbis, and palliative care workers who tend to those who are experiencing loss.

Among the poets included: Elizabeth Alexander, W. H. Auden, Amy Clampitt, Billy Collins, Emily Dickinson, Louise Gluck, Ted Hughes, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Philip Larkin, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, Marianne Moore, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, Theodore Roethke, Anne Sexton, Wallace Stevens, Dylan Thomas, Derek Walcott, and James Wright.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
From the Publisher
“Young offers an original and personal analysis of the modern elegy, and uses his own experience with the cycle of mourning to structure the book in sections titled  ‘Reckoning,’ ‘Regret,’ ‘Remembrance,’ ‘Ritual,’ ‘Recovery,’ and ‘Redemption.’ And the poems are as diverse and universal as the emotions of loss.”Donna Seaman, Booklist

“[Young’s] latest anthology is his most topical, and, perhaps, his most useful, gathering poems about suffering and overcoming loss … 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.’”Publishers Weekly

“‘Grief,’ wrote Denise Levertov, ‘is a hole you walk around in the daytime and at night you fall into it.’ Here, Kevin Young has thoughtfully gathered many of these sorrowful perambulations and grievous plummets.”—Billy Collins

“A book for easing the heart in pain. A chorus of poets (the first of its kind) brought together expressly to guide us through dark times when ‘the eye begins to see.’

Kevin Young is the right guy at the right time to do this. Brilliant.”—Mark Matousek, author of When You’re Falling, Dive and Ethical Wisdom

Library Journal
In this beautiful and practical book, experienced anthologist and poet Young (Jelly Roll: A Blues and Dear Darkness) has gathered poems of grief and praise. He includes selections from almost every well-known contemporary poet, including Kim Addonizio, John Ashbery, Mary Jo Bang, Gwendolyn Brooks, Billy Collins, and Mark Doty—and that's just a few from the beginning of the alphabet. Despite the subject, almost all the poems celebrate life as well; as David Young reminds us, "It will all go on. Rime, frost, mist;/ at the cracked mirror the janitor/ will comb his hair and hum." But whether the poems are memorializing stillbirths or newborns, grandparents or parents, siblings or friends, loss is always paramount. A useful subject index with clear headings, such as "For a Funeral Service," "Mothers," "Fathers," "Spouses and Lovers," and "Siblings," helps in the selection of memorial poems. VERDICT This book will provide solace for the bereaved. Both clergy and family members will use it to create meaningful memorial services, and all poetry lovers will find much to celebrate and ponder here.—Doris Lynch, Monroe Cty. P.L., IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781608190331
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Pages: 311
  • Sales rank: 787,926
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Young is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Ardency and Dear Darkness. His collection For the Confederate Dead won the Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement, and Jelly Roll was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is also the editor of six previous anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 2011 and The Hungry Ear, a collection of food poetry. His first work of prose, The Grey Album, won the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. Young is currently the Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing and curator of Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University in Atlanta.

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