POETRY

dying in the scarecrow's arms: Poems

Persea. Mar. 2018. 96p. ISBN 9780892554874. $15.95. POETRY
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While Douglas's powerful /blak/ /al-fe vet/ chronicled his family's journey north during the Great Migration, this new collection lands him in contemporary America, sometimes in his adopted Indianapolis and sometimes farther afield. It's a place where "A man w/a wife/ & kids is dead/ over loosies,// & suddenly/ the centuries—17th & 21st—have burns/ to share," and where, at a restaurant, the speaker must ask, "How do you keep/ your daughter's mind on the feast/ before her, not the threat/ @her back?" There are sweet moments, too—a kiss in a cab—but these urgent, perfectly modulated poems exclaim (of flying birds or bullets), "Don't tell me/ you can't see." The character Ení, Yoruba for "one" and pronounced "any," strolls through this fiercely depicted world as alter ego and lyric muse.
VERDICT Strong work for most collections.

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