Austin College will host 2014 Texas Poet Laureate Dean Young on campus October 8. In addition to speaking in several classes, he will present a public reading in Caruth Administration Building, Room 201, at 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
“The focus of growing international recognition, Dean Young introduces an excitingly playful, almost neo-surrealist dimension to the writing of poetry,” said Peter Anderson, associate professor of English and coordinator of the visit. “His work is especially recommended to young poets (of any age) because it is highly accessible, inventive, and takes the sorts of risk that make the words come alive on the page.”
Reviewers of Young’s work concur. A Toronto Star reviewer wrote, “In Young’s work, the big essential questions— mortality, identity, the meaning of life—aren’t simply food for thought, they’re grounds for entertainment.” Likewise, the American Academy of Arts and Letters posted, “Young’s poems are as entertaining as a three-ring circus, and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch. He is one of the most inventive and satisfying poets writing today.”
Young holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin. He has published 12 books of poetry and one volume of prose on the aesthetics of poetry. He has received numerous awards and honors for his poetry, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Levinson Prize, the Colorado Poetry Prize, a Wallace E. Stegner Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award, and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems are regularly selected for the Best American Poetry annual series.
In announcing the poet laureate appointment along with other 2014 Texas artists, Gary Gibbs, executive director of the Texas Commission on the Arts, said that the honorees have attained the highest levels of excellence and success and regional or national reputation for their high-caliber work. “In honoring these individuals we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director for the Texas Commission on the Arts. “These Texas State Artists are the best of the best. Their work defines our character of place and reflects the distinctive qualities that make Texas unique.”
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives.