Alien archeologists—or, say, historians from the year 2219—searching for evidence that the human soul survived the advent of KFC and Internet trolls, need look no further than the poems in Mike Young’s new collection Sprezzatura (Publishing Genius 2014). Plunking readers down in airport terminals and fast food joints, Young’s poems are unabashedly contemporary in their subject and language (“A man, duh, will do the things of love / he learned from his favorite songs”), though what motivates Young isn’t firstly an impulse to celebrate or dismantle the American wasteland. Young’s project skirts politics and polemics; these aren’t poems built to set the culture on fire, but to palpate the curvature of the inner skull and therein find the reflexive wonder in the recognition of what it means to be human now, in this strange moment, to understand that “We are things, embarrassing, strange, and hang around / feeling everything things, things considering beautiful / that which does not consider anything.”
Mike Young, Sprezzatura. Published by Publishing Genius (2014). 132 pages.
About the Author: Gregory Brown
Gregory Brown, Reviews Editor, hails from Vancouver Island, in beautiful British Columbia. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro MFA program for Fiction and Memorial University of Newfoundland's Master of Arts program in English Literature. He is the recipient of the Roy Daniels Memorial Essay Prize and his fiction and criticism have appeared in Postcript and Paragon.