Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dean Young Responds to Tony Hoagland

To catch up on what Dean Young is talking about, you can go here.

So anyway, Tony Hoagland has been writing a lot of things lately in which he throws a lot of rocks with his eyes closed. And now it seems even his friends agree, if in rather elliptical and flighty ways. Here’ s a letter from Dean Young that’s been printed in the current issue of APR:

Dear Editors,

After years of being a defect, it is a pleasant surprise to be upgraded to an effect in Tony Hoagland’s characteristically insightful and cogently hectoring essay (“The Dean Young Effect,” July/August 2009). Equally flattering is to be blamed for so much that he perceives as being wrong with contemporary poetry as particularly evidenced in a group of younger writers, who I am sure are deeply influenced by my work regardless if they have read it or not. Before I quaff the proffered drams of hemlock for my corrupting crimes (apparently to the chagrin of my poor comrades doing the reading for admission into creative writing programs across our fair land), I wish to humbly suggest a flaw in Mr. Hoagland’s essay, a flaw shared by much writing about contemporary poetry. It is a lack of, to use T.S. Eliot’s phrase, historical sense, to acknowledge that poetry has been around a long time before Apollinaire. Far beyond my misguiding of younger poets, I feel as a matter of pride that I must point out the awful effect my work has had on poetry in general. Surely I am as least in part to blame for John Donne’s willful obscurities and distortions; and what about those stylistic fripperies of Gerard Manley Hopkins? Not to mention the obviously inflated self-mythologizing of Whitman, and, even, the smarmy ironies of Chaucer. The list, as any delicate reader knows, goes on and on.

Dean Young


At 9/01/2009 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And now it seems even his friends agree, if in rather elliptical and flighty ways."

Thanks for sharing the letter, but I don't agree that Young agrees with his pal. Young agrees with you--Hoagland is short-sighted (short: 1919) and historically wan in his opinions on Young and Young's minions (who Young doesn't believe exist). But he can't say that because Tony is his pal! Hoagland's essay was dumb (knowingly?) in not pointing out Young's obvious debts to the very contemporary--Koch, Tate, Ashbery, Knott, and Adam Hammer. Young got to Apollinaire through New York. Like many of us!

At 9/01/2009 4:14 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Oh, I'm sorry - an ambiguous referent there! I meant to say that even his friends agree that he's full of feathers. So yeah, I read it pretty much the way that you did.

At 10/30/2009 10:03 PM, Blogger BlueRoanLady said...

Wow! You people need to get a life.

At 10/31/2009 11:16 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Hey BlueRoanLady,

In what way? I look around and feel I have a quite full and happy life. I don't understand the reason for your criticism.


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