“I am praying/Lord, what do you do/with these words?”
So writes Youngsville native Tyree Daye in “Fire Water,” from his first full-length collection, River Hymns. In it, the author answers his own question, using words to materialize the ghosts and losses, the fears and beauty, that have both made and broken him. His book, an open-eyed lamentation of the destructiveness of his own hammer, also expresses a fierce longing to rebuild what is broken.
River Hymns was chosen by Gabrielle Calvocoressi (see p. 36) as the winner of the 2017 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. Daye, who graduated from the MFA program at N.C. State and now works at The Raleigh Review, has also published two chapbooks, an indication that he is brimming over with words. They are powerful, intensely personal words, too, straining at the boundaries of a place where the speaker is taught to “throw love at the wall, see if it hollers.”
Originally slated in the So & So Reading Series with Bianca Stone, who was rescheduled for February, Daye picked another State alum, Matthew Wimberley, to read with him at CAM Raleigh at 8 p.m. on Thursday, October 12. A winner of Seven Kitchens Press’s chapbook contest and a recent finalist for Four Way Books’ Levis Prize, Wimberley was raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and his poetry is as place-based as Daye’s, with a power derived less from the punch of the words than from the stretch of their lyricism and a piercing attention to detail. The two poets’ readings should complement each other nicely.