Tyree Daye, Poetry


Whiting Awards 2019

Tyree Daye. Photo: Marc Hall.

Tyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is the author of two poetry collections: River Hymns, the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner, and Cardinal, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly finalist and a Cave Canem fellow. Daye’s work has been published in Prairie Schooner, the New York Times, and Nashville Review. He won the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival Langston Hughes Fellowship and is the 2019 Diana and Simon Raab Writer-in-Residence and a 2019 Kate Tufts finalist.


“Say River, See River”

I threw up the river last night

trout already gutted        salamanders rocking

between the books on my bedroom floor
then the river stood up            bowlegged it walked

like it was drunk         like it was an uncle

so I followed the dizzy river
into my mother’s backyard

watched it fall and flood the houses

pick itself up       laugh it off

we splashed past where the men

slept on the ground their low eyes always

where they laid at night        I wondered
if they counted the stars together

until it turned into a Lightnin’ Hopkins’ song
21 22 my black dog blues

if they played Spades for planets
toasted Wild Irish Rose to the Seven Sisters

the river took me to a big graveyard
we didn’t cut through

funneled around
ran a damp finger along the fence

the river would catch a name we passed the straight stones
and every so often say one

………….Philip         Jones

the dead heard the wet voice
and started calling back   River