Dean Young


Poet Dean Young was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and received his MFA from Indiana University. Recognized as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, his numerous collections of poetry include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Primitive Mentor (2008), shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize; Bender: New and Selected Poems (2012); Shock by Shock (2015); and Solar Perplexus (2019). He has also written a book on poetics, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (2010). Upon presenting him with the Academy Award in Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters noted, “Dean Young’s poems are as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch.” Young has also been awarded a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His poems have been featured in Best American Poetry numerous times. Young has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and the University of Texas-Austin where he holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry.  Source

Speech Therapy

The ugly duckling remained ugly

its whole life but found others

as ugly as itself, I guess that’s the message.

Smoke rises from the heads in the backyard.

Do you think if I hang around here long enough

someone will proffer a muffin,

one skulking shadow to another?

Soon, my shoes will be part of the populous dirt.

Have I learned all the wrong lessons,

the ones you shouldn’t know until

the last dew-clogged lawn is mowed

and the sun goes down on the ruined battlements?

Why was I given a toy train if not

to stage stupendous wrecks? Sure,

I can walk by the sea holding a hand

with as much melancholy as the next fellow,

substituting the cries of slammed waves

for the droll adumbrations of distraught

skeletons, the day taking on the sheen

of a stone removed from the mouth

and skipped between the breakers jubilant and sunk.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Mental Health

Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered

Transferred Epithet

When an adjective usually used to describe one thing is transferred to another.