The Art of Recklessness by Dean Young: My Experience, no, Being Reckless, Being Cool, no no no, I WAS READING DEAN YOUNG'S THE ART OF RECKLESSNESS AND THOUGHT MAN THIS WOULD MAKE A (GOOD?) BLOG POST. THIS IS COMMON, SEEING A DISC FLY THROUGH THE AIR OR STANDING ON A TOP OF A MOUNTAIN OR READING A BOOK, THINKING WOAH BLOG POST POTENTIAL.
For a while now, I’ve been enamored with Young’s writing, like the cousin who sets off firecrackers at the family functions throughout the year, saving them up, and each time Aunt Martha is around, BOOM, a handful goes flying towards her walker. Young’s writing, as I have come to it after much of it has been released, awarded, etc., strikes me as something new, loud, attention-grabbing each time.
I was stoked for this book, to learn more about the man behind the words, the aesthetics behind the style. As often goes with Young’s poems, I’m not sure what I got out of this book quite yet, but I know it was one cool ride.
Here are some cool thoughts from this book:
“Having a conversation with a couple of dreary poets a while back, I lamented how little the imagination is referred to in discussions of the merits of poetry and one said she felt the imagination played no part in her work because she certainly wouldn’t want it thought of as imaginary…The imagination plays as much a part in the creation of reality as it does in the confections of the false…THE HIGHEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS IS THE IMAGINATION AND THE HIGHEST ACCOMPLISMENT OF THE IMAGINATION IS EMPATHY and the ability to love, and if you don’t think that takes a profound part in the creation of the world, please close this book right now.” (p. 14)
No way, I’m with you, tell me more about this imagination, tell me more how I can make my own reality, tell me more how my poetry can be real.
“The use of fragment in contemporary work has become far too subsumed under yet another mode of convention: postmodern sentimentality which assumes that language, like culture and being, is always already broken. It’s one thing for Paul Celan to reduce his work to fragmentation through the pressures the use of German brings for a German Jew; it is a far different thing when someone suggests in a workshop that a poet try revising her poem into fragments. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR LANGUAGE.” (p. 51)
Hey, I know, I’ve probably been that suggestor, but I think he is right here. Often, I believe from my background as a writing tutor, I have this disdain for full sentences, seeing them as the opposite of what I want to accomplish, being a poet of pleasing language, exciting words, and distant from common conventions. However, I know the power of convention, of choice and use of these conventions. Also, great fiction also shows the poetic power of the complete sentence.
“Poetry is not a discipline. It is a hunger, a revolt, a drive, a mash note, a fright, a tantrum, a grief, a hoax, a debacle, an application, an affect. It is a collaboration: the bad news may be that we are never entirely in control but the good news is that we collaborate with a genius—the language!” (p. 156)
Okay okay. I thought I felt a nagging, a fury, a bite somewhere in side of me. I thought it was all the pizza and the bumpy RV ride.
Thank you thank you, Dean Young for your conversation, your thoughts. The first step towards being a poet is talking, I think. Call me, we'll talk.