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Embryoyo: New Poems

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  392 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
People have often tried to pin down what it is that Dean Young does. He has been variously called a New Age surrealist, son of the New York School, a comically tragic poet who knows the pain at the heart of a joke, a lunatic, a stuffed bunny, and a fire engine of the Romantic imagination. But if these things are true, they come at us in a unique, compelling, warm, funny, p ...more
Paperback, 88 pages
Published January 10th 2007 by McSweeney's
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Community Reviews

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Aug 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Embryoyo is a mixed bag. Young's style can come across as kind of rambling and incoherent at times, but when he's on he's simply brilliant. Things that are mentioned at least twice in these poems: sand, coyotes, umbrellas, hearts, foam, flying, cats, death, heads, diamonds, mouths, funeral, daisies, snow, bricks, static, friends, fog, mothers, hair, sea, feathers, fathers, monkeys, thought balloons, sponges (specifically related to faces), seeds, music, babies, rumble strips and tea bags (specif ...more
May 05, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: poetry
although there were glimmers of brilliance in this book, i had to wade through it to find them. we could bring up a lengthy discussion on what, exactly art is, but i feel like that would be beating a dead horse. a very dead horse. mr. young, the horse is dead - i know poetry is art, but a little clarity? please?
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, poetry, reviewed
Among many others, I loved these lines from Sean Penn Anti-Ode:

Must Sean Penn always look like he's squeezing
the last drops out of a sponge and the sponge
is his face?
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Is it a ‘style’ when nearly 95% of the poems are unintelligible? Why even title the poems when they could easily have been glued together to form a 60 page script of nonsense? There are some great lines here, truthfully, but without any coherent emotion or logic behind each poem I just feel flung about. Even kids say the darnedest things from time to time, but like this book you have to wade through a great deal of crud to get there. I read the whole collection and I will say that the poems I re ...more
Mar 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Dean Young's poems are saturated with pop culture references and incredibly smart language. His tone is authoritative in the way that with anything he writes, you believe it as an absolute truth. It's intensely cerebral but there's also a gut reaction in many of his poems, because there is an underlying emotional, human content. I love his grand gestures simply because they are so sweeping, but they're absolutely relatable as well in the little details. Favorite poems in this book: "Ten Inspirat ...more
Brent Legault
Apr 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
I expect I'll be asked to turn in my Hipper-Than-Thou membership card for saying this (my dues are long overdue anyway), but I didn't much care for these poems. I got the feeling that they wanted my attention but didn't want me to know that they wanted my attention and so they spent a lot of time smokescreening their honest intent with practiced yawns and ceiling stares. But the plan, if it was in fact a plan, backfired because I never saw any reason to give these poems my full attention. While ...more
Adrianne Mathiowetz
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
One of the few poetry books I've ever read cover to cover.

This may be my favorite few lines in the universe:

So I sat down
and dialed all your old numbers I don't
recommend it and each that was answered
pulled someone from deep cold water
I don't recommend it angry or numbed
with the bends. No one here by that name
then hanging up before my ingenuine
apology, just once music in the background
spiraling through the torn and borrowed world
so I could almost forget the roaring toward us
ball of flames.

Each po
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
His poems gratify my urge for poetic spark. His word selection often produces quick emotional incisions and his imagery is very regularly striking. While I like that he guides well outside the box, I don't find full coherence in most of his poems. It's not that I'm necessarily looking for closure, but I wouldn't mind if the wagons circled back more, however, there are plenty of emotional challenges that enhance the pleasure I derive from his poems. I don't get sustained narratives. He deals out ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone in the world
Shelves: poetry, library, 2008
i took a while to read through this because it is absolutely beautiful. if i have any complaint, it's that some of these poems felt like they ended too abruptly, too early. every poem has something spectacular going on in it. every poem is absolutely itself, absolutely unlike everything else and yet connected to the wide world. young is funny, smart, sarcastic, caustic, endearing, poignant. i hope that maybe if i read some dean young every few weeks, i'll imbibe a bit of his linguistic magic. so ...more
Nate Harrison
Jul 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you love poetry you will consider Dean Young to be an original, fresh genius. If you don't love poetry you will consider Dean Young to be an original, fresh genius. Few poetry books I have read are as enlightening, entertaining, hilarious and damn cool as this one. He's writing for you and I, not for the savants of the genre. I wish this Embryoyo were as accessible as something by John Grisham.
Jun 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bathroom
I am not generally a Modern Poetry Reader. When we hit upon the idea of leaving this one in the bathroom, a creative center, magic was born. I think Mr. Young would take all of this the right way. Weird but not self-conscious and conversational without being non-poetic.

"Irreverence is irrelevance's revenge."
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
There's a lot of energy in these poems. A lot of crazy images chained together, seemingly at random. It's a collection that rewards deep thought, and it's a collection that rewards just reading out loud to see how the poems make you feel.
Jose Araguz
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is my first dip into the work of Dean Young. Mesmerized. Love the way his line takes in as much life as possible and illuminates via kinetic energy. Worth it to read "Clam Ode" and "Ten Inspirations". Would come back to for these poems alone.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this after reading John Ashberry -- and it was a relief.
Surreal and playful. Witty. Brilliant. (READABLE! or is this a taboo of poetry criticism?)

He's a fan of Kenneth Koch, which I see, but D. Young's poems are thicker pudding. Cement.
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Young's best book, I think. Interesting to see how he's honed his style into this over the years.
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
some bits are just about perfect (for me)
Anne Ishii
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Dean Young is amazing and this collection is as good as anything he's written, which is to say very good.
Melting Uncle
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished2014, poetry
At first, some of this stuff didn't make sense to me. After I looked at it for a while, it did. Fun!!
Julia Glassman
Oct 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
I think I'm going to try this again when I grow more brain.
Kristen Hoggatt
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Say yes, Dean.
Gary McDowell
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: good-ones
Update 9/20/2007: someone whom I respect told me my work resembles this particular book of Young's. I must read it again.

Update 10/9/07: well, he's okay.
Catherine Corman
Aug 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
All that a human is made of is gold,
very very little gold.

-Dean Young, "Dear Friend"
Sep 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I'm loving this so far.
Aug 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Four stars cause I like "Elegy on Toy Piano" better and it wouldn't be fair to lump them together. Still rules!
May 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Dean Young is sort of amazing.
May 15, 2009 added it
Embryoyo: New Poems by Dean Young (2007)
Christopher Barry
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My first experience reading a full Dean Young collection. The second half of this book was loaded with lines and poems and moments that seemed to take the top of my head off and let the light in. Books like this are why I turn to poetry.
I would be sad without potato chips
but much worse if you chopped off my arm.
Which is why babies can't talk because
all they'd say is What the FUCK is that!?
I was glad I wasn't a baby
or a porous robot
I'm starting to fall apart, each of my seeds
a wingnut,
Aug 22, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
There are some great images and lines in this collection but some of the poems didn't quite seem "whole" or coherent. That may have to do with the fact that I read most of these poems before/during Institute Day meetings.

Loved "Clam Ode"
Jun 21, 2014 rated it liked it
tough to get the rhythm of these . but they're written to unfold neatly or at least to be built nearly.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Wonderfully odd poems. Some are terrific, some are ok.
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Dean Young is a contemporary American poet in the poetic lineage of John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, and Kenneth Koch. Though often cited as a second-generation New York School poet, his work also resonates with the Surrealist poetry of Charles Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, and Guillaume Apollinaire, and if neo-surrealism has a poetic corollary then it is him. His book Elegy on Toy Piano was a finalist f ...more
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