The Book of Hours (Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award)

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The poems in this collection hold emotion taut on each line while allowing for the nimbleness of language to drape over them, bringing tension between the heart and the mind, as Young consistently surprises us with profound elegance. Young goes far beyond just being a documentarian of American Black identity—he shows us how Black identity is indispensable to American culture. As curator, Young was responsible for growing the collection, running a reading series, and mounting exhibitions.

UW Graduate School. Kevin Young. Upcoming Events Upcoming Events. Support the Graduate School. Read poems by this poet. Read texts about this poet.

$, Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award goes to Marianne Boruch - Los Angeles Times

Little Fugue Everyone should have a little fugue, she says, the young conductor taking her younger charges through the saddest of pieces, almost a dirge written for unholy times, and no, not for money. It will sound to you not quite right.

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She means the aching half-step of the minor key, no release from it, that always-on-the-verge-of, that repeat, repeat. Everyone should have a little fugue -- I write that down like I cannot write the larger griefs. For my part, I believe her.

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Little fugue I wouldn't have to count. Marianne Boruch Still Life Someone arranged them in And the rabbit skull— whose idea was that? There had been a pistol but someone was told, no, put that away, into the box with a key though the key had been misplaced now for a year. The artist wanted light too, for the shadows. So the table had to be moved. Somewhere I dreamt the diary entry on this, reading the impossible Dutch quite well, thank you, and I can translate it here, someone writing it is spring, after all, and Herr Muller wants a window of it in the painting , almost a line of poetry, I thought even then, in the dream, impressed with that "spring after all," that "window of it" especially, how sweet and to the point it came over into English with no effort at all as I slept through the night.

It was heavy, that table.

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  • Two workers were called from the east meadow to lift and grunt and carry it across the room, just those few yards. Of course one of them exaggerated the pain in his shoulder.

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    Not the older, the younger man. No good reason to cry out like that. But this was art. And he did, something sharp and in the air that one time. All of them turning then, however slightly. And there he was, eyes closed, not much more than a boy, before the talk of beauty started up again. What God Knew when he knew nothing.

    No one to ask. So came the invention of the question too, the way all at heart are rhetorical, each leaf suddenly wedded to its shade. When God knew nothing, it was better, wasn't it? Not the color blue yet, its deep unto black. No color at all really, not yet one thing leading to another, sperm to egg endlessly, thus cities, thus the green countryside lying down piecemeal, the meticulous and the trash, between lake and woods the dotted swiss of towns along any state road. Was God sleeping when he knew nothing? As opposed to up all night before there was night or alert all day before day?

    As opposed to that, little engine starting up by itself, history, a thing that keeps beginning and goes past its end.

    Visiting Writer Kevin Young

    Will it end, this looking back? From here, it's one shiny ravaged century after another, but back there, in a house or two: a stillness, a blue cup, a spoon, one silly flower raised up from seed. I think so fondly of the day someone got lucky and dodged the tragedy meant for him. It spilled like sound from a faulty speaker over an open field.