Editor, publisher, and poet Kevin Prufer presents his ninth poetry collection, The Fears, an intimate meditation on storytelling and mortality. “Ghostlit by streetlights” and filtered through tale and recollection, Prufer examines our fears of loss, death, and obscurity. Narratives are braided together as Prufer manipulates white space to mimic the silence of minds at work on unsolvable problems, how time “unravels / endlessly.” Here, visions of classical Greece and the trials of ancient Romans coexist with the everyday—memories of a parent’s death or the loss of a pet. We bear witness as the poet writes “to preserve the intricacy of [his] own mind / against the eventual / certainty of [his] absence.” Exploring what it means to be forgotten and how legacy is preserved through poetry, history books, a mummy’s index finger, and love letters from the grave, The Fears invites us to consider what it means to matter.
“Picking up a collection of Prufer’s poems feels, to me at least, like settling into a favorite reading chair for the afternoon: he has found a form that mimics the way his own brain works, and given up the endless search for something new. A reader doesn’t have to learn a new language, and Prufer can focus on his real subject matter.”—Susanna Lang, Rhino Poetry