Black Lab

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007 - Poetry - 68 pages
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David Young, the distinguished poet and translator, offers us a gorgeous cycle of poems attuned to the Midwestern seasons—to weather both emotional and actual. A writer of thrilling invention and humanity, Young beckons the reader into an effortless proximity with the fox at the field’s edge, with the chattering crow and the startling first daffodils of spring. In his tour of both exterior and interior landscapes, the poet scatters his father’s ashes and remembers losing his wife, Chloe, to cancer, a loss at times still fresh after several decades; pays homage to the wisdom of the Chinese masters whose aesthetic has helped shape his own; and reflects on the gladdening qualities of a walk in a snowstorm with his black labrador, Nemo:
and in this snowfall that I should detest,
late March and early April, I’m still rapt
to see his coat so constellated, starred, re-starred,
making a comic cosmos I can love.
Young’s expert shaping of this world in which, as he writes, “We’re never going to get God right. But we / learn to love all our failures on the way,” becomes for the reader a fresh experience of life’s mysterious goodness and of the abundant pleasure of the language that embodies it.

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Black lab

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In his tenth volume, Ohio poet Young (English, Oberlin Coll.) works in a variety of forms and styles, each of them well crafted, though the less traditional ones aren't as accessible and will likely ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

David Young is the author of nine previous books of poetry, including At the White Window (2000) and The Planet on the Desk: Selected and New Poems (1991). He is a well-known translator of the Chinese poets, and more recently of the poems of Petrarch and Eugenio Montale. A past winner of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships as well as a Pushcart Prize, Young is the Longman Professor Emeritus of English and Creative Writing at Oberlin College and an editor of the prestigious Field Poetry Series at Oberlin College Press.

From the Hardcover edition.

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