cover image Solar Perplexus

Solar Perplexus

Dean Young. Copper Canyon, $22 (96p) ISBN 978-1-55659-572-1

“I don’t know what people mean/ by reality,” Young (Shock by Shock) writes in the first lines of his celebratory 15th book of poetry, his first since a heart transplant in 2011. With a transformed attention to life’s shifts and minutiae, Young’s signature unmoored poetics style is filled with quick shifts and leaps as he examines life’s surreal moments and unexpected humor. Indisputably, Young’s poems unfold in ways that are impossible to paraphrase: “As in a love affair. As when a trumpet/ hovers in the air. The average cloud/ outweighs a bus. That strewed dust above/ is the universe.” The first half of the poems collected resist narrative, or even the perspective of an “I.” “The ultimate monster is always the self,” Young notes, and when the self does appear in these poems, it often does through ungrounded observation, such as “I myself am a top.” Throughout, Young reflects on the effects of poetry on language and his own life: “Poetry, I love/ you certainly without any irritable/ reaching after fact. Resistance/ makes you shine.” There lies a particular pleasure in the deeply interior logic of these poems. (Oct.)