The Many Hundreds of the Scent: Poems (Hardcover)
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A stunning new collection of poetry from Shane McCrae, winner of the Whiting Writers' Award.
Shane McCrae, one of the most powerful voices in contemporary poetry, returns with The Many Hundreds of the Scent, an urgent new collection that brims with lyric force. He expands both the poetic and the personal mythologies that he has been constructing over the course of his career. In addition to introducing his readers to “the thin king / who eats the world,” McCrae invites them to bear witness to his tangle of childhood memories. In brutal, sorrowful lines, he recounts being kidnapped by his white supremacist maternal grandparents from his Black father as a boy. “O reader, listener, stay,” McCrae writes. “You are now evidence.”
In The Many Hundreds of the Scent, Homeric figures mingle with those who populate the poet’s world. Helen weighs Paris’s spear in her hand and bloodies a raging Achilles; Penelope burns her loom each night; Dido watches Aeneas’s ship burn on the horizon. A strikingly original and engaging poet, McCrae continually surprises—the collection includes a series of poems about the advent of post-rock and Hex, the debut album of the English band Bark Psychosis. With this collection, he has once more crafted an extraordinarily affecting book of poetry. As Kate Kellaway writes in The Guardian, “In McCrae’s hands, poetry is reclamation. It is also transport: writing a way out and through.”
About the Author
Shane McCrae is the author of several books of poetry, including In the Language of My Captor, which won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the William Carlos Williams Award, Sometimes I Never Suffered, which was short-listed for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and his recent collection, Cain Named the Animal. McCrae is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.
Named a Best Book of 2023 by Library Journal
"As the whole world asked, 'Can anyone explain this strange feeling,' a poet raised his hand . . . McCrae shows us how we need new music and new ears and eyes." —Debbra Palmer, New York Journal of Books