Original poem reprinted online here: "Unlikely Materials" by Dean Young
Originally read: December 24, 2012
More information about the Poet: Dean Young
"I like the stream of consciousness; yet, pure academic poem -- cheeky allusions to x (Orpheus), y (Buddha), Z (teaching), tie together a sense of amusement -- do a hard the[n] soft pivot (or w/e order) in the poem, then boom, Threepenny. Is it a good thing? I guess, in truth, nothing in this poems surprises me except for the 'friendly arm' simile."
I know I did a Dean Young before with "Zero Hour," and I probably like his style, but geez, past me, that's a pretty harsh critique, but rereading the poem and looking back -- it's a fun poem. The jumps from one idea to another is quite good -- peaches -> branch -> student. It doesn't make logical connection but there is a connection.
The images and similes are well rendered, "powerful as a baby rattlesnake," and "One big pearl, said the Buddha, then glanced / shyly around to make sure no one understood." They are imaginative without being sentimental.
I guess past me and current me sees this poem as -- well common. Michael Palmer, John Ashberry, James Tate, Jorie Graham, and a whole slew of their ilk and apprentices. That 1970's - 1980's feel: reject sentimentality and form, yet be clever, more or less allusive, and not be sentimental and add stream of consciousness. But I'd rather read this style than the extreme opposite.
It's not that I've seen this poem before, it's just that I've read too much of the style. I still like it, but it gets predictable. I don't know what to make of my thoughts about the style. Maybe in a couple more months I'll think differently.