Solar Perplexus

Copper Canyon. Oct. 2019. 96p. ISBN 9781556595721. pap. $22. POETRY
Written under the influence of and in homage to the late Slovenian surrealist poet Tomaž Šalamun, Young’s latest (after 2015’s Shock by Shock) continues the rush of unpredictable but strangely satisfying non sequiturs he has sustained through more than a dozen collections. Questioning the human need to make sense of every experience, he asks, “Aren’t we supposed to be lost?” thereby granting himself and the reader permission to become lifelong students of wonder. Even if “you can shake/ a lot of answers out of a drunk monkey,” the protean nature of the universe would soon render them useless. Young finds dualities everywhere (“Are pain and euphoria not bosom twins?”), intuiting that each passing second may presage an opposite turn of events (“you can believe me when I say/ everything is singing and love/ is eternal and wake up and smell the gasoline”).
VERDICT Young’s improvisations are simultaneously hilarious and poignant, revealing a deeply felt humanity and a covert awareness of our shared zeitgeist (“If you didn’t wake up/ screaming, you didn’t wake up”) that cause them to inspire no less than they entertain.
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