Smith College will present a reading by poet Dean Young at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, in Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Assisted listening devices are available upon request.
An inventive and vital voice in American letters, Young first fell in love with poetry during his childhood in Pennsylvania, when in the third grade he “started writing and never stopped.” After earning his master of fine arts degree from Indiana University, Young went on to garner much recognition, including the Academy Award in Literature as well as a Stegner Fellowships from Stanford University. He has published 12 books of poetry, including, most recently, Fall Higher and Bender: New & Selected Poems.
Young’s poetry is nothing if not a marvelous conundrum. He has said that “to tie too close to meaning misses the point,” and to read a poem by Young is to overhear snippets of a playful conversation at once implausible and undeniably true. “If adventurous poetry can sometimes feel like a tenuous tightrope walk,” wrote The Boston Globe, “Young’s poems feel more like zip lines.”
For more than a decade, Young lived with a degenerative heart disease. In 2011, just days after receiving a life-saving heart transplant, he published Fall Higher. Written before the transplant—at a time when, at its weakest point, his heart was pumping at 8 percent of what it should have been—the poems in this collection are infused with an acute awareness of mortality.
Young’s reading will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Jennifer Blackburn in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, Poetry Center director, at (413) 585-3368.
For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail ODS@smith.edu. All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.