Reading tonight at the monthly Spoken Ink Series in Burnaby. They are allowing me a good chunk of time, which makes me more inclined to throw in at least one “cover” poem. I decided yesterday that I will read a Dean Young poem, one of my favorite poets of the playful “associative” (yet still emotionally generous) school of poetry. Looking him up online today, I came across a feature on NPR which was a great listen, and includes Young reading some of his poems. At that time he was still recovering from a successful heart transplant for his failing heart and talks about that too, and facing mortality in poems, in general.
“I think that’s one of the jobs of poets: They stare at their own death and through it they still see the world — the world of 10,000 things. Poetry is about time running out, to some extent. You can think of that purely formally — the line ends, the stanza ends and the poem itself ends. And I think one of the things that’s pleasurable about reading poetry rather than hearing it, is that you immediately know where the poem is going to end. You can see it, just glancing at it. And there’s something maybe reassuring about that.”
I only have one collection of poems by Young, “Elegy for a Toy Piano” and a fantastic essay/book “The Art of Recklessness” on writing poetry but I’m looking forward to his newer stuff. There’s one poem written post-surgery that’s featured at the NPR link and it’s clear from that that nothing has been lost of his sense of wonder and startling humour and emotion.
Ok, enough procrastination, back to warming up for the reading tonight. I’ll leave you with a bonus link: Dean Young’s letter to a young poet (his nephew), which as is profoundly moving and insightful as anything in that Rilke book.