Theory of Devolution: Poems

With blazing wit and a searing language, David Groff writes fiercely of erosion and endurance in this stunning debut collection. Theory of Devolution resonates with the persistence of ruination, affectation, and the mysteries of the borders and shorelines we so uneasily inhabit. At turns fervent and elegiac, dishy and sly, these poems confront the effect of AIDS and HIV on a brotherhood that dealt firsthand with grief and loss and, later, the tenuous prospect of survival. Peopled with the spirits of dead gay men, uncertain lovers, mortal parents, and spectral friends and brothers, Groff’s poems are unified by their preoccupation with what erodes us and what we can hold onto when life and love devolve.

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Selected by

Mark Doty