Black Lab by David Young

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About David Young

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DAVID YOUNG journeys from his front porch halfway across the globe and back to his Ohio home in the circuit marked by Foraging. His emphasis is on our mortality and survival; ghosts and mushrooms (hence the title) are central poetic images; wild mushrooms of an odd beauty--variegated, unpredictable, delicious, poisonous, hallucinogenic--taking their life from decay, recyclers of matter, rather as poets are. He sees nature as a haunted house, and as a presence whose meaning fascinates and eludes us. Some of his poems are spoken by ghosts, others addressed to ghosts--for example, the elegy for James Wright, which invites his spirit to return to his native Ohio.
Published March 4, 2009 by Knopf. 87 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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