Dean Young

Though I read and ravely reviewed his recent book on poetics, The Art of Recklessness, I have to admit until just today I had never read a single one of Young’s poems; a few weeks ago I ordered a couple of his books based ostensibly on how bitchin’ the covers looked. Right now I’m reading Primitive Mentor and I have to share that I think it’s extremely good; while admitting the problematic nature of the term, I can think of no other way to describe most of Young’s language than as ‘accessible’, at least to a point. It doesn’t feel much much of a contrivance (again, we all know -everything- is a contrivance…) and when he slips into more nuanced, complicated metaphors or allusions it doesn’t feel like we’ve been setup for it, that he’s consciously playing back and forth. The flow is pristine but it will dip into deep water on you, sometimes hidden by quite a placid surface up top. I also try not to feel too influenced by my passing knowledge of Young’s health issues related to his heart, but I can’t help but feel especially compelled by the exploration of very personalized emotional shades surrounding mortality and selfhood.

I’m only thirteen pages into the book and not ready to really throw in any kind of review or reflections past that above, but needed desparately to share the following excerpt, which consists of the ending lines to the poem ‘Look at Quintillions Ripen’d & Look at Quintillions Green’:

“The mind is a tiny island you’ve washed up on.
You wanted to win the million dollars.
You wanted to be the teacher of futuristic poetries
not the structure of the argument.
In your future is a long journey.
A mansion with many bathrooms.
Something dark on the moors.


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