The Bigness of Small Poems – #3 in a Series – Kevin Young

American Poet Kevin Young

American Poet Kevin Young (1970 – )


In the night I brush
my teeth with a razor

Kevin Young from Book of Hours, Alfred A. Knopf, 2014


The borrowed handkerchief
           where she wept

returned to me months later
           starched, pressed.

Kevin Young, ibid

It seems ironic to be featuring two small poems of American poet Kevin Young when his poetic output in the past two years has been BIG! It has included too major hard cover volumes including Blue Laws, coming in at five hundred and eighty pages, his Selected and Uncollected poems published earlier this year.

The reason for metaphor! To put the ache back in an abstraction as American poet Stephen Dunn says. Oh the ache in these two Grief poems. But so differently. In the first poem the expression of grief is so dramatic and vibrating with pain. Ouch. Like putting my finger into a light socket that’s turned on! But the second – the grief is so folded up and contained. Another ouch but not the same!

Kevin Young is the author of ten books of poetry, one of which won an American Book Award and another that was a finalist for the National Book Award. He is the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

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