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Dark Horses

'Dark Horses' cover image

Dark Horses

New Poems

In Dark Horses prize-winning poet X. J. Kennedy gathers forty-two new poems rich in sound and sense. All display uncommon skill and an ability to treat matters both timeless and contemporary.

From the lighhearted ballad "Dancing with the Poets at Piggy's" to the darkly meditative lyric "The Waterbury Cross," the poems show Kennedy's wide range. There are intimate portraits of a woman veterinarian and a young man dying of AIDS, a song about the Sri Lankan festival of Buddha's tooth, and a stark account of a confrontation with a homeless panhandler. "Emily Dickinson Leaves a Message to the World" on the newly installed answering machine in her Amherst homestead. Finding a "Woodpile Skull" — the severed head of a black ant — makes the poet laugh at his own expense as he plays "ham Hamlet to a formic Yorick."

Enlivened by X. J. Kennedy's sardonic humor, wit, and insight into the human condition, the "dark horses" of this newest collection represent the finely crafted work of one of America's best-known and most widely respected poets.