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One Turn Around The Sun is a panorama of poems that attempt to define the twilight during which a person becomes caretaker of parents and begins to grind against that old saying, “Life is too short.” The book also studies the intricacies of being a self, a particular personality shaped by forces seen and unseen, both knowable and not. At times, the various voices might be considered characters that agree and sustain one perspective. In other cases, contending sensibilities imply an underlying argument. This is especially true of the book within the book, which is entitled “The Hilt.” Several questions drive this collection, the most central being how can a person stay sane when so often socio-political circumstances mock all efforts to create a livable world. This is a book intended to bolster an ongoing engagement with life at a time when running away is a great temptation.
The newest collection from one of America’s foremost African-American poets threads the journey from youthful innocence to the whittled-hard awareness of adulthood. Along the way it immerses the reader in palpable moments —the importance of remembering, the complexity of race, and the meaning of true wakefulness “Crisply comic, disarmingly frank, and aurally bold …” —Publishers Weekly
Awards2014 — Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize 2013 — PEN Oakland Literary Award Winner 2012 — National Book Award Finalist