Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Dean Young  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Born: 1955 in Columbia, Pennsylvania.

Sites:

E-Mail:


Illinois Connection

Dean Young taught at Loyola University in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Young has taught at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, in the low-residency M.F.A. program at Warren Wilson College, and at Loyola University, in Chicago. He is currently the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas, in Austin.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Strike Anywhere (Colorado Prize for Poetry)
ISBN: 0870814230

Center for Literary Publishing. 1995

'Although his work comes out of the poetries of Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, and Frank O'Hara and James Tate, Young has his own original voice. The language, the invention, the imagination, and the sheer fun of his poems is astounding. It's not all dazzle either. The poems are also moving. This man reminds us that there is nothing more serious than a joke' - Charles Simic, final judge and author of "Jackstraws", "Walking the Black Cat", and "A Wedding in Hell".

First Course In Turbulence (Pitt Poetry Series)
ISBN: 0822956977

University of Pittsburgh Press. 1999

Finalist for ForeWord Magazine 1999 Poetry Book of the Year

With rapid shifts between subject and tone, sometimes within single poems, Dean Young’s latest book explores the kaleidoscopic welter of art and life. Here parody does not exclude the cri de coeur any more than seriousness excludes the joke. With surrealist volatility, these poems are the result of experiments that continue for the reader during each reading. Young moves from reworkings of creation myths, the index of the Norton Anthology of Poetry, pseudo reports and memos, collaged biographies, talking clouds, and worms, to memory, mourning, sexual playfulness, and deep sadness in the course of this turbulent book.

Skid (Pitt Poetry Series)
ISBN: 0822957809

University of Pittsburgh Press. 2002

Dean Young is one of the premier surrealist poets writing today. In Skid, his fifth book of poems, social outrage vies with comic excess. He embraces the autobiographical urge with fury and musically lush exclamations. Whether through the dark facts of mortality or the celebratory surprises of the imagination, these poems proclaim vitality and alertness, wasting nothing. From Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner’s "Meep! Meep!" to remembrances of lost loves and laments about the future, Young’s poems reveal his faith in the genius of calamity and the redemptive power of fun.

Elegy On Toy Piano (Pitt Poetry Series)
ISBN: 0822958724

University of Pittsburgh Press. 2005

In Elegy on Toy Piano, Dean Young's sixth book of poems, elegiac necessity finds itself next to goofy celebration. Daffy Duck enters the Valley of the Eternals. Faulkner and bell-bottoms cling to beauty's evanescence.

Even in single poems, Young's tone and style vary. No one feeling or idea takes precedence over another, and their simultaneity is frequently revealed

sadness may throw a squirrelly shadow, joy can find itself dressed in mourning black. As in the agitated "Whirlpool Suite": "Pain / and pleasure are two signals carried / over one phoneline."

In taking up subjects as slight as the examination of a signature or a true/false test, and as pressing as the death of friends, Young's poems embrace the duplicity of feeling, the malleability of perception, and the truth telling of wordplay.

Embryoyo: New Poems
ISBN: 1932416692

McSweeney's. 2007

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.

The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction
ISBN: 1555975623

Graywolf Press. 2010

In The Art of Recklessness, Dean Young's sprawling and subversive first book of prose on poetry, imagination swerves into primitivism and surrealism and finally toward empathy. How can recklessness guide the poet, the artist, and the reader into art, and how can it excite in us a sort of wild receptivity, beyond craft? "Poetry is not a discipline," Young writes. "It is a hunger, a revolt, a drive, a mash note, a fright, a tantrum, a grief, a hoax, a debacle, an application, an affect . . ."

Fall Higher
ISBN: 1556594011

Copper Canyon Press. 2012

"Young has always stood out for his sharp humor, boundless poetic energy, and sheer readability. If adventurous poetry can sometimes feel like a tenuous tightrope walk, Young's poems feel more like zip lines."—The Boston Globe

"This book reads like a long, breathless thank-you for life's seemingly random jumble of beauty, strangeness, tenderness, and joy."—Los Angeles Times

Fall Higher is a major collection by one of America's most inventive and entertaining writers. In this paperback release, Dean Young's work contends with the challenges of love, wryly cataloging mistakes, deterioration, and broken vows. Young's humor is as sharp as ever, and coupled with a vulnerability that renders Fall Higher his most intimate collection to date.

"The True Apology Takes Years"

The true apology takes years.
Terrible dry eyes!
The tree rings grow closer and closer together
but the nail is swallowed.
Great heaps of rubble are moved up and down the shore.
Finally a dance is performed to complete the forgiveness,
stamping out small fires,
the whole palladium decorated with thistles
like the last twenty pages of a Victorian novel.
Now that your hunger is gone you're welcome to the banquet . . .

Dean Young has published twelve books of poetry, including finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and Griffin Award. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the NEA, as well as an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches at the University of Texas and lives in Austin, Texas.


Bender: New and Selected Poems
ISBN: 1556594038

Copper Canyon Press. 2012

"Young's Bender is a book of survival and strength, of seeing even in the smallest things the heights of what we can be. That's as good a definition of contemporary poetry as any."—NPR

"This book reads like a long, breathless thank you for life's seemingly random jumble of beauty, strangeness, tenderness, and joy."— Los Angeles Times

"The reader's mind shoots through [Young's poems] like the steel ball in a pinball machine, dinging around, racking up points. Dean's poems are amazingly fun."— BOMB

"After 10 books over 20-odd years, Young has become one of our most imitated poets: his jocular jumps from topic to topic, debts to Surrealist dream-logic, mixture of postmodern oddity, stand-up comedy and weighty pathos land his work somewhere between John Ashbery (to whom Young owes much) and Billy Collins (whose affability Young shares)." —Publishers Weekly

"Young revitalizes the lyric by reminding us that Art must never be less explosive and majestic and joyous than Life, lest it not only be no temporary substitute for Life but also no fitting representation of (or challenge to) life's regularities and irregularities. Bender will make you laugh, reflect, and marvel at how the contrary impulses and instantiations of both Life and Art can so readily be distilled in the sensibilities of a single man, or—in the case of Bender—a single book." —The Huffington Post

"Dean Young's Bender: New & Selected Poems provides a direct experience with all the stunning possibilities of language at its most sublime."— The Journal

From "Even Funnnier Looking Now":

If someone had asked me then,
Do you suffer from the umbrage of dawn's
dark race horses, is your heart a prisoner
of raindrops? Hell yes! I would have said
or No way! Never would I have said,
What could you possibly be talking about?
I had just gotten to the twentieth century
like a leftover girder from the Eiffel Tower.
My Indian name was Pressure-Per-Square-Inch.
I knew I was made of glass but I didn't
yet know what glass was made of: hot sand
inside me like pee going all the wrong
directions, probably into my heart
which I knew was made of gold foil
glued to dust . . .



Awards

--