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University of Iowa News Release


April 25, 2008

Writers' Workshop poet Dean Young presents free reading May 2

Poet Dean Young, a faculty member in the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, will read from his new book, "Primitive Mentor," at 8 p.m. Friday, May 2, in the Frank Conroy Reading Room of the Dey House on the UI campus.

An American Academy of Arts and Letters profile stated, "Dean Young's poems are as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymous Bosch. He is one of the most inventive and satisfying poets writing today."

Critic Ben Mirov wrote, "One of the miraculous aspects of Young's poetry is that despite his forays into seemingly unreal worlds of poetic experience, everything he writes is deeply connected to our reality. His poems are recombinations that assume each word refers to something other than itself and that that something is real. . . . It's my feeling that the 'primitive mentor' is as real as the brain inside our skull. It's the mechanism buried deep within our animal mind that knows more than we know.

"It's the part of Young's mind that reaches out to us from the line breaks and logical leaps that just barely defy our understanding. In a sense, 'primitive mentor' is more real than the chair we sit on or the coffee we drink. In fact it may be the only real thing, as it is what allows us to reconfigure our reality into a new more vital one, just as Dean Young does with startling consistency and increasingly refined artistry in each new book."

Young's 2005 collection, "Elegy on Toy Piano," was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his "Embryoyo: New Poems" was published in 2007.

His other collections are "Design with X," "Beloved Infidel," "Strike Anywhere," "First Course in Turbulence" and "Skid." "Original Monkey," a title by Empyrean Press and produced at the UI Center for the Book, is a collection of poems and drawings by Young. His poems have appeared three times in "The Best American Poetry" series.

He has received a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, a Stegner fellowship from Stanford University, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002.

The Writers' Workshop is a graduate program of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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