Fall Higher

Fall Higher

by Dean Young

View All Available Formats & Editions

"A long, breathless thank-you for life's seemingly random jumble of beauty, strangeness, tenderness and joy.” —Los Angeles Times

See more details below


"A long, breathless thank-you for life's seemingly random jumble of beauty, strangeness, tenderness and joy.” —Los Angeles Times

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his13th book, Young (Primitive Mentor) confronts mortality and the frailty of relationships with his trademark humor and inventiveness, but also with a newfound vulnerability and urgency. "We all feel/ suspended over a drop into nothingness," he writes in "Scarecrow on Fire," which ends "This is my soul, freed." These poems swing between those poles of fear and hope. A poem made of lines that resemble fortune cookie fortunes attests that life wears us away while it sustains us, advising, "Your feelings will never change, you'll just stop paying so much attention" and "The same laughter will have to work the rest of your life." Elsewhere, death is figured as a catalyst for life: "Because they will die soon/ the young couple has another baby." Self-loathing abounds in poems that ask questions like "What blank is yours to fill in/ regarding the worm's intestines?" In one section, a relationship ends ("suddenly I know I'll be an awful/ dim and recognizable character in my ex-wife's next novel") and in the next, another begins ("now I want a Russian novel, a 50-page description of you sleeping"). Overseeing all of it is the awareness that hope emerges in unlikely ways: "Just because we have birds inside us, we don't have to be cages." (Apr.)
Library Journal
"Poetry is a good provider of the strange," writes Young, an observation well supported by the torrential downpour of surreal imagery ("the piano turns out to be 88 mousetraps"), offbeat humor ("You were nearly killed putting up Xmas decorations"), and existential pronouncements ("We all feel/ suspended over a drop into nothingness") that fill to the brim his latest book (after 2008's Primitive Mentor). Inspired by "the hocus-/ pocus gnosis of this world," Young's fast-paced improvisations are held together not only by the occasional imposition of rhymed couplets and triplets and a self-rationalizing philosophy in which a grounding belief in the protean illogic of human existence is the point ("I did hallucinogens for corroboration"), but through a subtle yet strong emotional engagement, as recognizably deep notes of loss, failure, regret, tenderness, awe, and despair can be discerned amid the bright dissonance of non sequiturs. VERDICT Some serious-minded readers may grow exasperated with Young's kitchen-sink approach and class-clown shenanigans, but others will admire an energetic imagination that shows no sign of depletion even after 11 vibrant collections.—Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY
Dana Jennings
Mr. Young knows that to be truly reverent, the poet needs to be irreverent…But for all his humor and linguistic jazz, Mr. Young doesn't shun the big questions.
—The New York Times

Read More

Product Details

Copper Canyon Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >