For the Confederate DeadBook - 2007
In this passionate new collection, Kevin Young takes up a range of African American griefs and passages. He opens with the beautiful "Elegy for Miss Brooks," invoking Gwendolyn Brooks, who died in 2000, and who makes a perfect muse for the volume: "What the devil / are we without you?" he asks. "I tuck your voice, laced / tight, in these brown shoes." In that spirit of intimate community, Young gives us a saucy ballad of Jim Crow, a poem about Lionel Hampton's last concert in Paris, an "African Elegy" which addresses the tragic loss of a close friend in conjunction with the first anniversary of 9/11, and a series entitled "Americana" in which we encounter a clutch of mythical southern towns, such as East Jesus ("The South knows ruin & likes it / thataway - the barns becoming / earth again, leaning in - ") and West Hell ("Sin, thy name is this / wait - this place - / a long ways from Here / to There"). For the Confederate Dead finds Young, more than ever before, in a poetic space that is at once public and personal. In the marvelous "Guernica" Young's account of a journey through Spain blends with the news of an American lynching, prompting him to ask, "Precious South, / must I save you, / or myself?" In this surprising book, the poet manages to do a bit of both, embracing the contradictions of our "Confederate" legacy and the troubled nation where that legacy still lingers.
Publisher: New York : A.A. Knopf, 2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
Branch Call Number: 811.54
Characteristics: 156 p. ; 24 cm.