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At the White Window
(Ohio State University Press, 2000)

“In his ninth book of poetry, At the White Window, Young’s work continues, affectionately and patiently, to explore and chart the various landscapes in which the poet finds or places himself: the small Midwestern college town where Young has lived for forty years, Oberlin, Ohio; travels to Europe; the internal landscapes of memory and grief; the quirky repainting of Oberlin as though it were a series of panels on a Chinese scroll, with human figures and their concerns placed in proper proportion to towering cliffs, lofty mountains, and vast mist rises. Because Oberlin sits on a flat, glacier-razed piece of Ohio countryside, Young tweaks the Asian tradition by seeing the cliffs and mountains in the clouds that fill the skyscape, along with its ‘denizens [who] are crows and hawks, herons and gulls.’ Irony and whimsy keep sentimentality at bay in Young’s poetry, while the passionate lyricism that perhaps led him to translate Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus some years ago manifests, sometimes ecstatically, sometimes more somberly, in this new volume:

Or has she journeyed to a prairie
where all our codes and grids have been abandoned,
no houses, no towns, no roads; clear sky,
a few clouds riding aimlessly across it,
and a bird or two, meadowlarks probably,
tossing around in its depths?
—from “My Mother at Eighty-Eight”

David Young is a poet of wide interests, encompassing but extending far beyond the literary, and a generous heart. The finely crafted poems in At the White Window reflect in myriad ways the poet’s lifelong appreciation of T'ang Dynasty poetry, Shakespeare, Wallace Stevens, music, science, landscape painting, and nature. They are poems that resist the tyranny of despair and meaninglessness, instead advocating for a vision of the world that includes beauty and suffering in equal measures. This vision urges our responsibility as well: we create from what we see, but the seeing is also of our creation, a function of what, in the book’s title poem, the poet terms “our unabashed humanity, both frame and view.”
Patricia Ikeda-Nash, from her review on the Amazon website

Night Thoughts and Henry Vaughan
(Ohio State University Press, 1994)

“The setting for Young’s astonishing new book is northern Ohio in early August; specifically, the night of the annual Perseid meteor shower. The book is comprised of two poems. The first, ‘Henry Vaughan,’ serves as a brief gateway into the longer, more hypnotic poem, ‘Night Thoughts.’ Fittingly, it’s midnight in the first stanza; we are introduced to ‘a blue Ohio night’ and a gardener who produces a box of Ohio Blue Tip matches and tells us: ‘I’m going to put you in this matchbox now / and take you for a stroll around my yard.’ And so we follow through six sections of poems, each of these extended one hour deeper into ‘this carbon dark, / this diamondback night,’ with Young striking verbal matches along the way to illuminate everything from a Japanese beetle trap to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. What is extraordinary about the poem as it moves into early morning is its ability to suddenly shift into new and more urgent meditations without losing narrative coherence. This is owing to Young’s language, rich with detail, never perfunctory. The book is the recipient of the 1994 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award in Poetry.”
Publisher’s Weekly

The Planet on the Desk:
Selected and New Poems 1960-1990

(Wesleyan University Press, 1991)

“How wonderful to have the best work of this remarkable poet gathered into a single stunning volume. His metaphors give ordinary life the vivid strangeness of a dream. The merciless clarity of the poems from ‘Nine Deaths’ will break your heart.”
Nancy Willard

“Consistently—over thirty years!—David Young has been finding shape for the awakening of odd, estranged, even feared, but scintillating nerves. These beautiful, frequently visionary explorations he executes with a deep sense of responsibility to human experience and to language. In The Planet on the Desk cumulative perfection is attained: a maximum strength of image and word choices—word company—and a consciousness capable of surviving burden and creating lightness work together to bring about a poetry where everything is meant but so surprisingly revealed. His lines can flutter the spirit and bestow understanding.”
Sandra McPherson

(Wesleyan University Press, 1988)

Earthshine is a book both literally and figuratively of cycles and these cycles unravel in individual poems that are passionate, wise, heartbreaking, and, ultimately, joyful. David Young has contributed a great deal to American poetry during the past twenty or so years—as a teacher, essayist, editor, translator and poet, but never so much as with this book of the articulate, the healing, the ongoing heart.”
Thomas Lux

“David Young’s art is exact and exacting—you can’t help being moved by his straightforward account of his wife’s death. Nor can you help joining in the redemptive, clear-eyed commitment to look again at all the things of the world backlit by grief. These poems do what poems should—they save a little of the world, they surprise us with our own constancy and strength.”
Dennis Schmitz

(Wesleyan University Press, 1986)

The Names of a Hare in English
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979)

Work Lights: Thirty-Two Prose Poems
(Cleveland State University Press, 1977)

(Ecco Press, 1973)

Sweating Out the Winter
(University of Pittsburgh Press, 1969)


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