Book of Hours, by Kevin Young

April 28, 2014

The sudden death of a parent and years of smoldering grief that follow, the breathless anticipation of the birth of a child and years of awkward wonder that follow—these experiences are among the subjects of an attractive book of poems by an award-winning poet. Many of these poems were written out of moments when his nerves were frayed and confidence shaken. “Pietá” begins “I hunted heaven / for him. / No dice” and ends “Father, / find me when / you want. I’ll wait.” There are poems titled “Pilgrimage,” “City of God,” “Limbo,” “Annunciation,” “Blessings,” and “Nativity.” The poet presents simple, elegant compositions that hold the grace of ordinary shadowy days. The poem “Sorrow” begins “The dogs ate what we did / only days / later. Like angels / they roam the countryside / belonging to no one. / And to everyone.”