April Penn's response to Dear Darkness, like my own, involves food and hunger. Maybe don't read this book while fasting.
Reader Response Poem to Kevin Young’s Dear Darkness
is what the past
~ Kevin Young, “Ode to Cushaw”
You search everywhere in the cemetery,
but you can’t find your great grandfather’s grave.
Instead, you delight in odes of the food he may have eaten.
Hunger never leaves, craving always the next poem
for okra, grits, crawfish, catfish, black eyed peas,
Gumbo, sweet potato pie, watermelon…
You say, “like rice/ you rise,” (Ode to Boudin) --
the transcendence of food, not magic
but history trying to taste your tongue.
Eating your most edible story, figs of smoke.
So sweet and vanishing an author, a lost uncle
memory of a man burning too bright.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.