It’s easy to see why Alex Grant’s chapbook Chains & Mirrors won both the 2006 Randall Jarrell/Harperprints Poetry Contest and the 2007 Oscar Arnold Young Award (for best book by a North Carolina poet). Grant’s skill as a poet goes beyond just writing well. Although his images are fresh, his language precise and his lines masterfully crafted, Grant’s knowledge of and respect for the history of his craft make him not just a good new poet, but as Thomas Lux says in his review of Chains & Mirrors, "a hell of a good new poet."
Grant’s poetry in Chains & Mirrors reflects a reverence for the subjects that have preoccupied poets for millennia: among them, history’s pageantry, nature’s beauty, the inexplicable connections between people and the importance ritual plays in surviving—and explaining—the finality of death. These are grand themes indeed, but Grant makes them seem familiar, personal and completely modern. The thief on the cross who blasphemed Jesus becomes a jaded, pleasure-seeking tourist in "Dreaming in Gethsemane," St. Peter’s skeleton provides a fragile connection to the divine in "Authenticity of the Bones," and the short life of a garden midge becomes fodder for a comical dissection of male folly and insecurity in "Giant."
Causes Alex Grant Supports
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