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

Small Craft Talk Warning

All poetry is about hope.

A scarecrow walks into a bar.

An abandoned space station falls to earth.

When probing the monster’s brain,

you’re probably probing your own.

A beautiful woman becomes a ghost.

I hope I never miscalculate the dosage

that led to the infarction

of my lab rabbit again.

All poetry is a form of hope.

Not certain, just actual

like love and other traffic circles.

I cried on that airplane too,

midwest patchwork below

like a board game on which

mighty forces kick apart the avatars.

I always wanted to be the racecar

but usually ended up a thumbtack.

When I was young, sitting in a tree

counted as preparation and later

maybe a little whoopie in the morgue.

So go ahead, thaw the alien, break

the pentagram but watch out for

the institutional hood ornaments.

It’s not a museum, it’s a hive.

The blood may be fake

but the bleeding’s not.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica


Literary Devices:


an instruction or a command


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing