A debut collection from NEA and Stegner fellow Edgar Kunz. Poems that sprawl between oxys and Bitcoin, crossing the country restlessly as they struggle to reconcile a troubled young adulthood with the working poor New England youth.
A whirlwind debut. Stories of sclerotic lives told in wrought images, Kunz arrives with real poetic talent ... Tap Out lives in a bittersweet world, and does so well, but there’s also fine touches here...
Kunz’s straightforward verse is captivating in assembling contexts for these hard men ... These are intimate scenes with men that struggle with intimacy, charging quiet moments with intensity, and intensifying quiet moments ... What flourishes in these near-empty scenes are the crevices, hands 'gnarled / as roots dripping river mud,' a 'Split nail grown back // scalloped and crooked,' 'The stitch- / puckered skin,' the life a body shows.
Kunz resists, in these spare lines, the temptation to draw some larger moral from the moment, and instead allows what’s left unsaid — between his father and the speaker, between the lines themselves — to hover at the edges of meaning...This impulse — to resist the declarative 'message' inchoate in Kunz’s memories — is laudable ... This ability — to transmogrify a familiar phrase or word into something unknown — stands as one of Kunz’s major talents ... In a book so concerned with hands, the disassociation between the speaker and his hand grows into a larger fissure — between present and past, adulthood and childhood, even poiesis and physical labor ... In Kunz’s transformative imagination, even blood undergoes a kind of poetic alchemy, becoming first 'alien,' and then a currency of rare and precious value.