Logo for: North Carolina Writer's Network
Back to Book Buzz

What Do You Have To Say? Poetry’s Eternal Question: Poems about Knowledge, Heart, Mind, Truth, Caring, Conflict

What Do You Have To Say? Poetry’s Eternal Question: Poems about Knowledge, Heart, Mind, Truth, Caring, Conflict

By S T Kimbrough, Jr.Publisher: Wipf and Stock PublishersISBN: 979-8-3852-1396-2; 979-8-3852-1398-6Genre: PoetryPrice: $12 Paperback; $9.99 Kindle
Available from: Wipf and StockAmazon

A poem shapes words in such a way that they say something about something. Poets put their words together in many different ways from culture to culture. The choice of words, rhyme, free verse, etc., and many other aspects of composition comprise the poet's art of rhetoric. It is not the purpose here to pursue an extensive discussion of the characteristics of poetic rhetoric, but rather to emphasize that poetry possesses many characteristics through which it conveys meaning. Therefore, the choice of words is an essential aspect of creating the effectiveness of poetry. There are five sections in this book: (1) "What Do You Have to Say?"; (2) "What Do You have to Say about Knowledge?"; (3) "What Do You Have to Say about Truth?"; (4) "What Do You Have to Say about Caring?"; (5) "What Do You Have to Say about Conflict?" The poems of each section explore the role and effect of our words and verbalization in addressing each subject. The poems themselves do not solve problems but are a call to alarm, that what we have to say greatly impacts the choices that we make personally and that communities make corporately. They beckon us to think carefully about what we have to say about anything, especially the gravest and most significant concerns of life.

S T Kimbrough, Jr. holds a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is currently a fellow of the Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition of Duke Divinity School. He has taught on leading faculties in the US (Princeton, New Brunswick, Washington,m DC, Drew University [Madison, NJ], and abroad at Bonn University [Germany], and the Illiricus Faculty of Zagreb.) He is author of many books by Wipf and Stock, particularly about English literature [Charles Wesley], music, history, biography, and over a dozen books of poetry.


S T Kimbrough dares ask, ‘What do you have to say?’ What does he have to say in his latest book of verse? What do we have to say as we stumble through time? What does anyone say of love and war, empathy and enmity in this unjust world? It’s not enough to call this a book of poetry. It’s a book of introspection and history, indignation and epiphany?

John Archibald, 2018 and 2023 Pulitzer Prize recipient

S T Kimbrough’s latest collection of poems is full of questions about words, how we express ourselves, how we communicate, and what this tells us about ourselves and our society. We need words. One poem reminds us that body language can be powerful, but its range is limited, another suggests that silence is divine (but cannot takes us forward). This collection moves similarly from a set of poems, sometimes even lighthearted, through a series of stages, to a profoundly moral view of the situation in which humanity finds itself. By writing these poems Kimbrough has raised a flag in the struggle for a better world.

J. R. Watson, professor emeritus of English, University of Durham, UK