Crooked Smiling Light by Alan W King
“To read Alan King’s Crooked Smiling Light is to get an honest take on what it means to be a grown ass Black man in a world with little love, or even use, for grown ass Black men. In this latest collection, King riffs on such varied themes as fatherhood and family, poetry and ambition, sex and sacrifice, with the same insight and style, the same blue candor, longtime readers have come to expect. Fans of Drift and Point Blank will find in this volume a wonderful addition to the King cannon. New readers will wonder why nobody has pulled their coat until now.” –John Murillo, author of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry.
"Poetry is a context for our wounds. And what if a wound becomes courage; and what if that courage becomes language, and then language starts shining — vindicating everything, making our lives clear and beautiful in the telling. A favorite poet, Alan King, shows us how to do it —in his stunning new book."
– Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate
I find myself rewarded for a patient reading. The poems are never far from the themes of family, parenting, and legacy.
—Steven Leyva, Washington Independent Review of Books,
"King’s third collection is multi-faceted and multi-layered in its themes and within the questions it asks of itself, of the speaker, and of the reader. King references mythic Jedi temples, suicidal bees, and the perpetually liminal late-night diner in a collection that serves as reflection on what it means to be a Black husband, father, protector, provider, and survivor in this world."
Alan King's 3rd collection is both a departure from his previous books and a continuation of his observations and experiences living in the United States as a Black man.