Dean Young's exhilarating, complex, and wide-ranging poems give one the impression of conversations with an angel in which the poet has to be super-alert at every second, for every second counts and the angel knows everything. To listen to these conversations is to experience a colloquial, witty, emotional, and urgent discourse not to be found anywhere else.
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.
Dean Young's fourth book is caffeinated, frantic. The speaker of these poems is highly attuned to the world, but utterly befuddled by it . . . Theories, conversations, books, friends, mishaps, and other minutiae blend into each other. . . The core struggle here is how one goes about assigning meaning to the arbitrary. Mythologies, once created, rush toward their inevitable collapse.
In this aptly titled collection, Dean Young challenges the reader to hang on as he jigs from one poetic style to another and sets a wondrous course across a Duchampian landscape.
First Course in Turbulence contains poems filled with a rich imagination, wit, humor and astounding ways in which the language can be stretched to uncover ironies, startling correspondences, and ultimately, alternative perspectives. Fasten your seatbelts. Enjoy the ride.
Dean Young has published eight previous books, most recently elegy on toy piano, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Embryoyo. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts as well as an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.