SEASONING by David Young

SEASONING

A Poet's Year with Seasonal Recipes
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A soulful and sage calendar of monthly associations—“things of place seen in time”—from poet Young. Northern Ohio is Young’s patch, and he has assumed the poet’s ancient obligation to mediate between its citizenry and the sacredness of their landscape, to feed a spiritual hunger, taste the land in its bounty—wheat to wine’serve it forth in words and the occasional well-turned recipe. Young appreciates that any place can ripen in the fullness of time, when it has been allowed to season like firewood, even his own undramatic turf, a homely “nowhere in particular” from which he wrings delight, right down to its nickname of Firelands, after the Connecticut settlers whose farms back east were burnt out from under them by the British army. There are harmonies to be discovered in the land, particularly when fused with time (recollection, immersion, anticipation), a concatenation of stimuli amounting to a sense of place. Young approaches each month with deliberation, searching for aptness: the heavy settling of February; June’s emphatic turn to summer, “into long twilights and the deep night”; October’s “prolonged, occult pauses, temporal backwaters and time warps, indolent warm days when leaves lie around on the ground.” Poems stud the book, pungent summoning obliquities, so too stunning reflections on the loss of his wife and his mother, cathartic in their skillful economy. The chapters end with a saturnalia of recipes so that Young may celebrate the comedy of winter squash, give a great inclusive hug to all the elements that fill his days. Rarely does Young lose his touch (for instance, with a preachy comment like “being is a momentous gift, greater than any web site”), and even then it feels like an honest mistake. An elegant pot-au-feu of days, sensual and heart-gladdening.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8142-0803-7
Page count: 348pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1998