Kerry James EvansBangalore

Copper Canyon Press, 2013

by Jen Fitzgerald on July 22, 2014

Kerry James Evans

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Bangalore (Copper Canyon Press 2013) by Kerry James Evans calls out to its reader from an urgency that is its own place and time. He has inhabited many spaces, geographically and socially. His poems reach out from them.

Evans shows us that poetry, as the great communicator, can hold the violence of this life and render it in such a way that it startles our desensitized consciousness once again. This is not for shock value, this is his way of picking up a portion of our world and bearing it to you, palms up. Do with this what you will, but it is truth.

Evans dares to address the realities of class in the United States by implicating himself in the narrative. He brings the reader to layers of this country many will never experience.

Effigy of myself. Effigy of anything but Alabama
and Alabama all the same, boiled peanuts
rotting green on a gas station counter
outside Montgomery, reminding me of you, and how you cling
to life: one tendril coiling a pair of pothole diggers.

He imposes no structure on his poems, but instead allows them to find their own way into this world, to guide his hand toward understanding. I encourage readers to pay close attention to his masterful handling of poems in parts. The sections breathe life into one another while winding, like kudzu, around and over, covering and revealing.

Pay attention to this young poet.

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