GLEAN, a reference to the gathering of grain after harvest, explores the appalling trust implicit in any act of faith that prayer may not elicit a response. Spare and evocative, the collection struggles with a language at odds with itself.
After we’ve reaped the whirlwind, what remains to glean? This debut approaches the question and its quiet apocalypse not desperately but,against all precedent, lovingly. And such approach is amply rewarded. In the hollow places of our day, Kryah finds not emptiness, but an echoing sound of wings. In the waste spaces, he finds a spark just now coming alight–for warmth, not burning. Crazy as it may sound, in Glean we have the love poetry of a terrible aftermath we need not, thanks to Kryah, fear after all.
In these tight and resonant lyrics, logic, precision, and affection coalesce. Opening with the self as a winged fruit, Kryah goes on to find more and more facets of being that negotiate body, name, and world in a way that brings out both their reverence and their rigor. Like prayer that needs nothing to pray to, these poems continually open, enlarging our view.
“What should you do when your lyric investigations of secular uncertainty start echoing a rhetoric of religious rapture? What might a non-affiliated poetics of spiritual striving look like on the material page? When I want to ask such questions, I pose them to Joshua Kryah. This present conversation (transcribed by Nicole Monforton) focuses on Kryah’s collection Glean. Kryah, also the author of We Are Starved, lives in St. Louis and teaches at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. He has received fellowships from the NEA, MacDowell Colony, and the New York Public Library, and his awards include the Michael W. Gearhart Prize from The Southwest Review and the Third Coast Poetry Prize.”
Joshua Kryah was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas …