Synopses & Reviews
"Young is up to his old tricks again, cracking wise and surreal on all things animal, vegetable and mineral. This eighth collection and McSweeney's/Believer Books' first poetry title opens with the admonition: ' 'They won't attack us here in the Indian graveyard.' / I love that moment' and proceeds to list other odd things loved and hated. It's hard not to smile for a poet who puts 'time's finked imbroglio' and 'the Age of Sweaty Dreams' in the same poem, or claims he thought the poetic form ottava rima was 'a Renaissance hooker.' The humor and energy of Young's poems often lie between a childish giddiness about life's oddities and an adult's bewildered sadness. Add some surreal language play ('just another ex nihilo yoyo grazing/ on the classical radio waves') and you've got the typical poem by Young (Elegy on Toy Piano). He does what he does as well as anyone can, at times brilliantly, but some of these poems risk becoming shtick ('Every bird knows/ only two notes constantly rearranged,' admits Young). This volume could be three-quarters as long and twice as good. Nonetheless, Young has mastered his own style and way of thinking in poems. Only a rare poet can make a reader simultaneously cry and laugh this way." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
People have often tried to pin down what it is that Dean Young does. He has been variously called a New Age surrealist, son of the New York School, a comically tragic poet who knows the pain at the heart of a joke, a lunatic, a stuffed bunny, and a fire engine of the Romantic imagination. But if these things are true, they come at us in a unique, compelling, warm, funny, poignant, and sometimes cracked voice. Each of his poems is an enactment, a representation of psychic life as it moves through modes of argument, autobiography, and conventional lyric impulses while making room for textual experimentation. For Young, what is most important is that the poem be felt and that through his work one can participate in the alarm and beauty, the fury and injury inherent in being alive.