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Sam’s Book
David Ray

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1987 • 96 pp. Frontis. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6180-0
$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7295-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“Heartbreaking poems... praise the cycle of life, acknowledge the power of death and express the love of a father for his son.”—Andy Brumer, New York Times Book Review

Eloquent and accessible poems commemorating the “stunning blast” of loss

When Sam Ray was killed at nineteen in an accident, his father began writing poetry dedicated to his memory. Sam’s Book is a collection of these elegies and other poems written during Sam’s lifetime. “How should I mourn?” David Ray asks. By recalling poignant events from the past he transcends his grief. He remembers Sam’s first bath, a “holy/Rite”; tying the shoelaces of the “little man”; traveling to Greece, where Sam is “the first…/to see the holy moon.” With painful wit and regret he summons up the image of his son’s blue Toyota, fastidiously transformed by Sam and his girlfriend into a “love nest.” Ray muses on what he taught Sam and what Sam taught him. Originally published in 1987, Sam’s Book won the 1988 Maurice English Poetry Award.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“I admire Ray’s honesty and directness, but that he should also be able to make poems out of his a tribute to the steely-nerved artist in him... I will stand out among books of contemporary poetry.”—Roger Mitchell, Prairie Schooner

“A very original book. It is a book of love poems—of that there is no doubt—and yet these are father and son love poems. I don’t know of any other book in American literature like it.”—Robert Bly

From the Book:

“The Question”

How long should I mourn?
Let me ask you, my son.
How long would you wish it?
Do you want it to go on?
Is there anything to be gained
for either of us, for both of us?
Are you so far away now
that you’re no more than a wish,
the one I had on my mind
before you fulfilled it, came
quite early one morning
when mist was on fields
and we had slept there, waiting
in a tent for you, yet rushed
into the town, as if
a boy like you could not
have appeared out of the fields,
blue mists not far from the ocean.

David Ray is the author of many volumes of poetry, and has received numerous awards for his poetry, including the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. He taught for many years at the University of Missouri—Kansas City, and now lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Click here for author's website.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:08:03 -0500