Sample Poems
The Day Underneath the Day
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The Halo
The Afflction

The Second Person

Four Way Books, 2007

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E-mail the author at cdaleyoung at cdaleyoung dot com

FINALIST in Poetry for the 2007 ForeWord Book of the Year Award

FINALIST in Poetry for the 20th Annual Lambda Book Award

The Second Person

In The Second Person, we encounter the searing presence of the Beloved—a "you" that seems to advance and retreat from the gaze of both the speaker and the reader. Young, a vivid renderer of landscape, has shifted his painterly eye from the exterior world to an interior one filled with the complexities of failure and doubt. In the collection, we continue to get the verbal precision and accuracy we already identify with Young's poems, but we also get a more compelling poetry, one infused with the tradition of the love lyric and a relentless exploration of loss.

Praise for C. Dale Young

From Publishers Weekly March 19, 2007

Starred Review The title of young's second collection evokes the book's many concerns: romantic partnership and sex (especially between two men), the nature of the other, and the "you" to whom many of these poems are addressed. Young's preoccupation with the body comes from his medical background (he is a practicing physician) filtered through an aesthete's attention to form and lyric (most of these poems are in neat tercets). Young's speakers are caught between the desire to understand and the desire to simply desire: "It is not the bone beneath the skin that I kiss/ but the silence clinging to the skull's curve." The poems come to the page already burdened by a doctor's knowledge that mortality rules over even love, and the natural world becomes an analogy for human suffering: "the rain spreads like a bruise over the ocean." The excellent long poem "Triptych at the Edge of Sight" sketches a blurry romantic "landscape filled with failure" whose all-too-human inhabitants may or may not find spiritual consolation. When Young's two worlds--the medical and the metaphorical--merge, they create a love poetry that is sublime because and in spite of its knowledge. (Apr.)

From RAIN TAXI Fall 2007

C. Dale Young's latest book of poetry begins with the question "If God is Art, then what do we make / of Jasper Johns?" Although the answer is never revealed, what we do find is more important than any rhetorical query. Throughout the volume, Young addresses the body as much as the mind and spirit, creating his own holy trinity. [I]n the middle of the pain and loss that Young knows too well will be revisited upon him, the only constant becomes love. Not surprisingly for a poet who currently practices medicine and is board certified in Radiation Oncology, the most powerful poems in The Second Person are the ones that deal explicitly with medicine and the frailty of the human body. Lines from a man whose profession demands that he bear witness to the grimmest of news become strangely comforting.

Book Jacket Copy

"'If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.' Again and again, the poems in The Second Person perform just such metamorphoses: from faithlessness, they extract the faithful return of longing; from the stern parameters of bodily affliction, they extract the consoling vista of mortal comprehension. [Young] is no stranger, in other words, to the body in its dying, the spirit in its starkest confrontations, the mind in its intertwining missions of healing and analysis. All of this brings incomparable richness to his poetic project: behold here the luminous form that mindfulness assumes." —Linda Gregerson

"If you want poems that delve, if you want language that dissects, if you want emotions that seize and ideas that startle, then The Second Person has you written all over it. —J. D. McClatchy