Poet and author Jake Adam York had published three collections of poetry when he died of a stroke in 2012 at age 40. He had a profound interest in social history, and his poetry was focused on the history of the civil rights movement. Specifically, he was writing to remember, and to memorialize, the 126 people who died between 1954 and 1968 in the struggle for equal rights for African-Americans.
His last volume of poems, Abide, was published posthumously in 2014. It’s one of the five finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry.
I began reading Abide without looking at the poet’s biography, previous works, or articles about him (this is how I do most reviews –starting simply with the work at hand and considering it on its own merits).
I had a number of surprises.