Monday, September 07, 2009

Beloved Infidel by Dean Young

My favorite poet is Billy Collins for three reasons: 1. simple language, 2. clever metaphors and images, and 3. a dash of humor along with some profound truths. His poem, “Shoveling Snow with the Buddha,” is my favorite of his works, and you can easily find it on line.

At the other end of the spectrum is Dean Young. He uses pretentious language – “cothurni” (boots) – which might be pleasing to his ear, but not to mine. He tortures words and leaves me with images I cannot fathom no matter how hard I try. In a recent interview on NPR, he was asked to explicate a line, and he said, "I have no idea what I meant." Tony Hoagland, a well-known scholar and poet, expressed a similar sentiment when when describing another poem by Young.

Poetry shouldn’t be a struggle. 2 stars for a handful of interesting lines.

--Chiron, 9/7/09

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