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With this National Poetry Series debut, Kevin Young explores home in its various forms, touching on themes of death, memory, freedom, and loss.
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Overview

With this National Poetry Series debut, Kevin Young explores home in its various forms, touching on themes of death, memory, freedom, and loss.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A 1993 National Poetry Series selection, this harsh volume explores "home" as a place in the collective African American memory. Many of these poems are children's painful narratives of the rural South; one section entitled "The Spectacle" details freak show attractions from a local fair. A final section, "Beyond the Pale," moves beyond collective memory to contemporary ironies, combining the black oral tradition with strains of the dead white masters (Auden, for example): "See, in the end the tragedy is all/in the telling, not at the moment when the gator/slips out of Ched Peeling's trusty, thoroughbred/hands & gobbles down a few select/youngsters." While the poet's descriptions of poverty and suffering are vivid and moving, the poems grow stronger as they move beyond a conventional mix of nostalgia and rage to a more thoughtful and transcendent vision: "things do/not need me here, this world/dances on its own." A promising first work.-Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York
From the Publisher
"First books rarely sing with such controlled music. Young has a distinctive and unforgettable voice, virtuosic style, and mature command of his material. Any of these poems testifies to Young's genius. A marvelous book, a marvelous poet."
— Booklist

"In Young's alchemy, succulent scraps are gathered from daily life, distilled, and emerge, finally, as portable nuggets of home, carried wherever the poet may travel." -- The Voice Literary Supplement

"Young's descriptions of poverty and suffering are vivid and moving, and the poems grow stronger as they move beyond a conventional mix of nostalgia and rage to a more thoughtful and transcendent vision." -- Library Journal

"A rock-solid book, something you could grab hold of." -- John Yau

"This poet's gift of storytelling and understanding of the music inherent in the oral tradition of language re-creates for us an inner history which is compelling and authentic and American." -- Lucille Clifton 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688147655
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/1/1996
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Young, author of this National Poetry Series winner, also published Giant Steps: African American Voices at the Crossroads of the Century. He teaches at the University of Georgia.
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Table of Contents

Reward 1
How to Make Rain 5
The Dry Spell 7
Visiting Home 9
Miss Lucille 14
An Almanac, 1939 17
Five 18
Southern University, 1962 20
Anatomy 23
Wake 25
Fever 27
Beauty 31
The Spectacle 33
Teller 51
Baptism 55
Constance 57
Revival 58
Saying Grace 60
Whitewash 80
Degrees 85
Whatever You Want 86
Clyde Peeling's Reptiland in Allenwood, Pennsylvania 88
Driving Independence Day 91
Central Standard Time 93
Everywhere Is Out of Town 94
Eddie Priest's Barbershop & Notary 96
Ouivira City Limits 98
Letters from the North Star 100
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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2004

    Evocative...

    Young's lines enchant and captivate, drawing the reader deep into his world. Like Komumyakaa, Young is a magician of language, and like the late Richard Hugo, he exhibits a strong imagism of pastoral loneliness.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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