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Kevin Cantwell

Kevin Cantwell

Kevin Cantwell lives with his wife and son in Georgia, where he teaches literature and writing at Macon State College. Among other awards, he has won the River City Award and an Academy of American Poets Prize.

Also by Kevin Cantwell


Something Black in the Green Part of Your Eye

Something Black in the Green Part of Your EyeSomething Black in the Green Part of Your Eye

$14.00 paper | 77 Pages
Publication Date: March 2002
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"Song of the Black Corona," "Choral Lines from the Sumerian," the title poem, "The Wooden Trap"—these poems say that the world is on fire but only the steadiest and most masterful hand can show us the burning. Kevin Cantwell's steady and masterful poems blend poise and intimacy in a style that is his own and built for the ages."
         —Frank Bidart

"It is rare to find, in a first book of poetry, such a heady store of lyric precision and so much exquisite evidence of a world so keenly fathomed and observed."
         —Jacqueline Osherow

"So focused, so distilled the articulation of these poems—the details of country matters so strangely noticed, the dreams so strongly nourished—that initially we are at a loss (though quite happy to be there) to know what to make of this new diction:
         . . . dwindled beneath the blush
         peignoirs of popular prose—
But it is the persistent authority of a discovered style which finds our confirmations, our security, 'that old fine music, which moved the story along.' Though spoken out of a solitude and into one, Cantwell's fresh-cut verses achieve a sort of community of perception, 'untethered from familiar darkness,' as the poet says. This new poet says it all. Anew."
         —Richard Howard



I promised to write, but as you know
you too have let the years go by.

I have heard of course—by the usual
communiqués—that you are dead.

Yet I ask, How dead is dead
if I can still see you changing

white tablecloths in the bistro crush?
I wondered if I could joke that day

you called, after I had left town—
but before you had passed on—that I

was still alive. You kept asking me,
How are you? How are you? O.K.,

it seemed to me. O.K. You listed
the stricken & therefore all of us

who were still alive. I did not ask
after anyone in particular.

We paused, interested in the other
life—but not enough. So you said

that the Eastern Shore had been cold,
but for a night at least a few drinks

at an amber board had kept you there.