Winner of the fourteenth annual Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, awarded by former British Poet Laureate Andrew Motion. Aristotle daydreams in a Chevy Suburban. Darwin is at kindergarten graduation. Six Characters in Search of an Author roam the Wal-Mart parking lot. From a library near Sappho, Washington, to a movie theatre outside Ovid, Michigan, Christopher Cessac's The Youngest Ocean explores "everything before versus what is possible." The anxiety of influence at issue here is not just concerned with making art but life in general: "how to be in this world and what role model doesn't disappoint." On one hand, a "peaceful life in an unwalled city" doesn't seem too much to ask. But then again, "pastoral dreaming solves everything except what matters." The book's final, long poem—part manifesto and part anti-creation myth for the New World—opens by positing one small step forward: "Nothing beautiful to say about the world and never stop trying to say it." Both questioning and celebrating our "desire to persist despite," The Youngest Ocean is an entertaining, thoughtful attempt "to sing of inexpressible things" and, as the author notes, "there is never enough music."
Christopher Cessac, 2018, Paperback, ISBN-13: 978-1-904130-94-9.