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Dean Young is an American contemporary poet that has humor filled poems that are actually quite deep and sad. In his book “Fall Higher” he writes many poems that are filled with humor but hit deep depressing issues. Although his poems may be sad, a lot of them are realistic.
The first poem I looked at what “Commencement Address”. This poem is quite powerful. The word commencement means the beginning or start of something. From the title, it may lead on the point that there is a start of something new and refreshing, but that is not the case. The opening line starts off by saying “I love you for shattering. Someone has to.” This line is very powerful because it tries to get at the point that a person can be ignorant, but it takes one person to expose them to the truth, hence the beginning, or rebirth of their life. That person will now look at life differently because all the lies will be exposed, all the alternative motives will be rid of their invisible cloak. Through out this poem, Young goes through many situations people face through their lives. One example he says is that some people have to change dirty sheets room after room. He could be talking about hotels, motels, hospitals, nursing homes, and etc. Another example he talks about is returning from the dance floor to drink more alcohol. Young then continues to state that you have been angels from God, just not very good ones. What I take from this poem is that, what is the point of all of this? Why do we need to do all these things, and why are only some people doing terrible tasks, while some people are enjoying life carefree? Young ends the poem by saying “There’s nothing left but hope”. That is a very powerful closing line. Young tries to get at the point that our society has so many wrongs, and we’ve reach a point where there may be no return. This poem symbolizes how our society is so spread apart from important to non-important issues via the examples he gives in the poem.
The second poem I looked at from “Fall Higher” is “Elemental”. This poem is quite interesting. “Dearheart, why are you crying? Already you’re in the air”. This line tries to get at the point once your heart may be broken, there’s nothing you can do. That “love” has left into the air, and it is gone. Young often uses fire in this poem as symbolism of love. Air is also symbolic for what is gone. As long as there are sparks, the love will continue to burn. At the end of the poem young says, “Some things can be fixed by fire, some not. Deartheart, already we’re air.” Young says this line because the love he had was going through trouble, and before even trying to fix it with sparks and fire, the love was already “air” meaning it was already too late. This is quite depressing, Young tries to get at that love will always turn to air, and that the fire cannot keep on burning forever. The reason this poem was titled “Elemental” is because the fire is burning, and it then goes into the air, and once the fire stops burning, all the elements from the fire is then absorbed by the air. This can also symbolize that things change, and nothing is forever.
The third poem I read from this book was “Late Valentine”. The title gives off that impression that the person’s Valentine came late into their life. The poem starts off by “We weren’t exactly children again, too many divorces, too many blood panel”. This line goes to show that a person can keep on meeting new people they may be interested in, even after having multiple divorces and heartbreaks. Young again brings up fire, which is the symbolism for love. Young goes to say, “We can admire the work the fire’s done”. This line can be the plea for love from Young or the character of the poem. But we see again in this poem that the “fire” does not last forever. Near the end of the poem, Young says “How little bother you were then” implying now that he is sick of his lover. That the main character has gotten tired and annoyed of his lover. Young ends the poem by saying “Oh how I loved your smell”. This poem goes to show that you can fall in “love” many times through out your lifetime, but is it meant to be? A person will always find something wrong with someone to end what they have in order to explore newer, more fun options.
This poetry book, “Fall Higher” by Dean Young is quite interesting. He seems to love the symbolism of love and confusion of life. That life may not be everything it seems, and there’s a lot of things that go on that are not right. Those not right things cannot be fixed; the damage has reached too far for a point of return. Also, Young gets at the point that maybe love is not defined the correct way. Why should a person love only one significant other for the rest of their life? Love dissipates and eventually disappears, but that’s okay, we can move on to the next one.