Flint’s new collection is cast in the form of an autumnal testament, its ponderings those of middle age, its resolutions shaded with melancholy. Selected by Dave Smith for the National Poetry Series, Stubborn circles back time and again to the stark virtues of resilience and endurance–particularly the poet’s recognition that “something stubborn wants him scribbling daily, / even if it is the only thing to write about” (“Late September, Early Morning”). For all his big-hearted sincerity, however, Flint seldom proves entirely equal to the task of quarrying sustained pathos from his tireless soul-searching; his hunt for pithy epiphanies and durable solaces too often leaves him stranded in overdetermined stoicism or remorse. Flint’s best poems are not those that hover closest to home (several poems invoking the death of his son are moving for their subject matter rather than for any sustained elegiac grace) but those in which he confronts mortality with his mind as well as his heart, counterpointing earnestness with artfulness.

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Selected by

Dave Smith