Fall Higher

Copper Canyon. 2011. c.105p. ISBN 9781556593116. $22. POETRY
"Poetry is a good provider of the strange," writes Young, an observation well supported by the torrential downpour of surreal imagery ("the piano turns out to be 88 mousetraps"), offbeat humor ("You were nearly killed putting up Xmas decorations"), and existential pronouncements ("We all feel/ suspended over a drop into nothingness") that fill to the brim his latest book (after 2008's Primitive Mentor). Inspired by "the hocus-/ pocus gnosis of this world," Young's fast-paced improvisations are held together not only by the occasional imposition of rhymed couplets and triplets and a self-rationalizing philosophy in which a grounding belief in the protean illogic of human existence is the point ("I did hallucinogens for corroboration"), but through a subtle yet strong emotional engagement, as recognizably deep notes of loss, failure, regret, tenderness, awe, and despair can be discerned amid the bright dissonance of non sequiturs.
VERDICT Some serious-minded readers may grow exasperated with Young's kitchen-sink approach and class-clown shenanigans, but others will admire an energetic imagination that shows no sign of depletion even after 11 vibrant collections.

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