“But nothing can be taken back, not the leaves by the trees, the rain by the clouds. You want to take back the ugly thing you said, but some shrapnel remains in the wound, some mud,” were just some of the words spoken at Pulitzer Prize nominee Dean Young’s poetry reading on Thursday in the Business Building Lounge, sponsored by Ink. He read poetry from his earlier works and incorporated a few from his newest books, “Primitive Edition,” and “Embryoyo.”
Young’s performance was comical and witty as he read his poetry with a true passion for the art.
Adding an incorporation of his own life experiences, Young’s poetry seemed real and sincere, and full of life and imagery. His work represents a surreal age of writing within a style of his own.
When Young spoke, his voice was warm and compelling as he read aloud works such as “Human Lot,” and “Washing the Tyrannosaurus,” a clear spectator favorite met by laughs from the audience.
“Sometimes we’d put our hand in the ice machine to see who quits first,” reads a line that clearly shows his comical and witty way of writing.
“Optimism is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?” Young asked prior to reading “Teetering Lullaby” and “Rock Garden.” Some of the words that he used in his poetry are odd and peculiar, but come together to form that distinctive style Young is known for. Young concluded his poetry reading with a piece titled “Scarecrow on Fire.”
Following the poetry reading, Young joined his readers on Friday for a master class in contemporary poetics in the library auditorium. There, he read other writers’ poetry and poetry of his own and then proceeded to talk about the interpretations behind the works, including a little advice of his own for prospective writers.
Young also talked about his newest book, which is set to be released a year from now, titled “The Art of Recklessness.” He talked about the structure of this book and how most of the works inside have neither transitions nor section breaks. Young told the audience that most writers become so involved in the mechanics of writing poetry that they become estranged from their primary impulses.
“It is important to remind ourselves of the first impulses of writing poetry,” Young said.
“Young’s ethos is distinctly and categorically his own,” Duncan Slobodzian, a junior English major and Signal staff writer, said when introducing Young to his audience.
Young also spoke to the audience about how he doesn’t try to convey anything when he first sits down to write. His mind is empty and as he writes, the poem reveals itself.
“Poems report back to me what I’m feeling,” Young said.
Dean Young’s workshops teach writers that it is better not to occupy themselves with where the poem goes wrong. And rather than try to fix it, simply repeat it and make more and more mistakes. It appears initially as a mistake, but turns into a whole new revolutionary way of writing.