Texas

In 2014, Dean Young was appointed state poet laureate of Texas. The William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin, Young has published twelve books of poetry and one volume of prose on the aesthetics of poetry. He has also received numerous awards and honors for his poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. 

 

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Dean Young
Texas poet laureate

Dean Young

Largely influenced by the New York School of poets, Dean Young combines aspects of experimentation and surrealism in his poems.

poems

poem

Old fang-in-the-boot trick. Five-chambered
asp. Pit organ and puff adder. Can live
in any medium save ice. Charmed by the flute
or the first thunderstorm in spring, drowsy
heart stirs from the cistern, the hibernaculum,
the wintering den of stars. Smells like the cucumber
served

poem
Jim

You looked Texas today
road hard, scrubbed brush, blown tires
gasoline islands

But later California returned—fortune’s poster child
radiating. Truck full of gas,
cheap camera in the glove compartment
stuffed toys on the dashboard,
beads on the steering wheel,
a pretty girl’s

poem
I never knew them all, just hummed
and thrummed my fingers with the radio,
driving five hundred miles to Austin.
Her arms held all the songs I needed.
Our boots kept time with fiddles
and the charming sobs of blondes,

the whine of steel guitars
sliding us down in deer-hide chairs
when jukebox music was over.