P.'s Reviews > Ardency: a Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels

Ardency by Kevin Young
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Mar 15, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historical, pomes
Read from March 15 to 21, 2011

I look forward to reading this again. It's right up my poetic alley, and it's just plain good. There are many different structuring methods at work, in four different sections, and I don't know if I took enough time to get how they all worked. I think I'll buy this so I can go back and spend more time with it.

There was one weird thing I'd like to mention: the first section is written in the voice of James Covey, the interpreter for the re-captured slaves of the Amistad. His poems contain several anachronisms--references to canned laughter, G-men, etc. It threw me a little bit. If it was the voice of the poet as narrator I'd be fine with it, but it's supposed to explicitly be from the past. I wonder if that bothered anyone else.

Overall this is a real stunner of a book. It's hard enough making a 50 page book of poetry and Ardency holds its own over 200 pages. It's helped that it has real history and characters to go on, but that doesn't mean that Young didn't do any work.
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