Mumble it to strangers at parties, make it your facebook status, tell it to anyone wearing a name tag. Winter doesn't care what your name is. Yea, you want to steal that line don't you? Go ahead. Merry Christmas. There are perfect lines to spare in Kevin Estrada's new poetry collection of said title.
And this is winter. What timing! The snow has returned. If winter doesn't care what your name is it especially doesn't care in New York City. The city in which these poems occupy chilly bedrooms and dog boarding facilities. Kevin's New York is one of mid-town cup shakers and love starved strap-hangers window shopping for the human touch. They honor the indifferent season, paying quiet tribute to it through the tense shoulders and knitted caps of a solitary walk against the wind.
Kevin hadn't shown us much since 2007's Cocktail Salute and some of us began to assume he had sort of given up the ghost. In a way this was true. He seems to have retired an old voice, turned the page on himself. He has retired the 'little boy lost, he takes himself so seriously' persona (thanks Dylan) that once trademarked his work and has replaced it with something sturdier; a voice less threatened, less certain of it's own demise. In as great an affirmation of the beating heart as you're likely to find, Kevin challenges, "anyone who says we are already dead, or dying, / i dare them to stand atop a grave / at night / alone"
What else is there to say? I was less than half way through this manuscript before I realized it was the greatest thing my buddy Kevin had ever compiled... and that's saying something, cuz the bulk of my favorite poems are in the second half.
Buy it. Now.