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In Dean Young's sprawling and subversive first book of prose on poetry, imagination swerves into primitivism and surrealism and finally toward empathy. How can recklessness guide the poet, the artist, and the reader into art, and how can it excite in us a sort of wild receptivity, beyond craft? "Poetry is not a discipline," Young writes. "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 . . ."
DEAN YOUNG is the author of nine collections of poetry, including Primitive Mentor, Embryoyo, and Elegy on Toy Piano, which was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. He teaches at the University of Texas, Austin.