Each week, WW writer John Minervini brings you the latest in book reviews, author Q&A's and Portland literary gossip. Click here to join the Tome Raider mailing list.
Kevin Young
28-year-old badass poet who's gotten more recognition since he graduated from Harvard University than most milquetoast rhymesters will see in a lifetime.
The New Yorker
The Paris Review
Ploughshares
Dear Darkness (Knopf, 196 pages, $26.95)
“But the Blues come back for you, I've discovered.”
Dear Darkness
For the Confederate Dead
Not bad.
Dear Darkness
The battered black box I brought

from my grandmother's house

.

held yellowed bills, receipts

for seed, chicken feed, and envelopes

.

full of promissory notes—

my inheritance held

.

in a box held together

by masking

.

tape, and more tape, browning

the metal, hinging it shut.

.

Everything hinged

on what bloomed inside

.

among the muggy smell

of old paper, and loans

.

long since forgiven—the seed

bought against earnings

.

in Sunset, the mill

NOT RESPONSIBLE

.

FOR UNATTENDED COTTON

LEFT IN THE YARD

.

ALREADY GINNED

My grandfather's signature

.

few carbons held—

most bore the John

.

Hancock of some boss

I picture like death

.

or debt, looming—

misspelling Da Da's name.

.

Both, we hope,

are final—or is it only debt

.

that lives on

forever? I owe

.

them my life, my grandparents

who fought the elements

.

and the earth to raise me up,

and us, planted the seeds

.

of cotton, of promise

no box, nor coffin, can contain—

.

though this black,

broken, unlocked box, secured

.

and scarred by tape,

comes close.