Author: Robert Wood Lynn
Publisher: Yale University Press (2022)
The 116th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets, Robert Wood Lynn’s collection of poems explores the tensions of youth and the saturation points of knowledge: those moments when the acquisition of understanding overlaps with regret and becomes a desire to know less. Comprising poems of place set across the Virginias, this collection includes an episodic elegy exploring the opioid crisis in the Shenandoah Valley as well as a separate series of persona poems reimagining the Mothman (West Virginia’s famed cryptid) reluctantly coming of age in that state’s mountains and struggling with the utility of warnings. These are narrative poems of love and grief, built from a storytelling tradition. Taken together they form an arc encompassing the experience of growing up, looking away, and looking back.
“These poems name the hurt wrought upon the meek that makes the elegy, here, as much an exaltation of the living as a mournful dirge for the land.”