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Poetry Feature: 'The Hush of the Very Good' by Todd Boss

I first came across the American poet Todd Boss in Poetry magazine, where a number of his poems have appeared in recent years, and instantly enjoyed his demotic, witty and deftly musical style. I was chuffed, then, to receive his first collection Yellowrocket as a present recently, which at over a 100 pages is a lengthy and rewarding read. His poems - charting the recurrent themes of landscapes, language, kids, love and marriage with intelligence, subtlety, real feeling and humour - bring to mind the likes of Frost and Auden, but also bear comparison to more contemporary poets such as Armitage, Kleinzahler, and, at times, the late Michael Donaghy. He is definitely a poet worthy of your attention, and a friendly chap too, as he recently kindly granted me permission to reprint his poem 'The Hush of the Very Good' here on the Wasteland. If you enjoy it, I really encourage you to buy Yellowrocket - published by W.W. Norton you can find it here, and Boss's website with recordings of him reading his work is here.


The Hush of the Very Good


You can tell by how he lists
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxto let her
kiss him, that the getting, as he gets it,
is good.
xxxxxxxxxIt’s good in the sweetly salty,
deeply thirsty way that a sea-fogged
rain is good after a summer-long bout
of inland drought.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxAnd you know it
when you see it, don’t you? How it
drenches what’s dry, how the having
of it quenches.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxThere is a grassy inlet
where your ocean meets your land, a slip
that needs a certain kind of vessel,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxand
when that shapely skiff skims in at last,
trimmed bright, mast lightly flagging
left and right,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxthen the long, lush reeds
of your longing part, and soft against
the hull of that bent wood almost im-
perceptibly brushes a luscious hush
the heart heeds helplessly—
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxthe hush
of the very good.


poem by Todd Boss
from Yellowrocket (W.W. Norton, 2008)
first published in Poetry, February 2007

Comments

Matt Merritt said…
Sounds excellent, Ben. I've been meaning to buy a bit more US poietry, so I'll add that to the list.

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About the Author

Welcome to the website of the English poet and critic, Ben Wilkinson.
Ben was born in Staffordshire and now lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. He received his first degree from the University of Sheffield, and holds an MA and PhD from Sheffield Hallam University. He has won numerous awards for his poetry, including the Poetry Business Competition and a 2014 Northern Writers' Award
His debut full collection of poems, Way More Than Luck, appeared from Seren Books in February 2018.
He is a keen distance runner, lifelong Liverpool Football Club fan, and among other things he works as poetry critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement. You can find many of his reviews on this site.
To contact Ben about readings, workshops, or for any other enquiries, you can drop him a line at benwilko(at sign)gmail.com. Unfortunately, I am not able to consider unsolicited requests from authors for book reviews.

You can follow Ben on Twitter - @BenWilko85 - and on Facebook.

You can find B…