Tag Archives: Mike Young

A MELTING: Vouched Presents (+ The Rumpus + Omni Commons!)

19 Mar


 Our favorite literary angels, Mike Young and Luke Bloomfield are in town for their Western Snowmelt Tour!

In a related story: TONIGHT Vouched,  The Rumpus, and Omni Commons are throwing them a party! Featuring readings from people we love, a Vouched table full of new goodies, and a Very Serious Contest, wherein you stand to win a book-prize from the Rumpus! As usual, there will be donuts.



This is a FREE event with readings by:

Mike Young

Jayinee Basu

Na’amen Tilahun

Leora Fridman

Luke Bloomfield

We can’t wait to see your faces at 7pm! Confetti!

The Rumpus is a place where people come to be themselves through their writing, to tell their stories or speak their minds in the most artful and authentic way they know how, and to invite each of you, as readers, commenters or future contributors, to do the same. What we have in common is a passion for fantastic writing that’s brave, passionate and true (and sometimes very, very funny).

The Omni Commons is comprised of several Bay Area collectives with a shared political vision—one that privileges a more equitable commoning of resources and meeting of human needs over private interests or corporate profit. We invite you to join us in establishing a safe, productive place to pool resources for the collective use and stewardship of the greater community. A space that fosters an ethic of radical collaboration across disciplines and between individual collectives, creating a living model for future radical spaces.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1558927211044106/

Best Thing I’ve Read This Month: Sprezzatura

10 Sep


Mike Young
Publishing Genius 
132 pp // $14.95


Mike Young doesn’t fuck around – but does he? This collection will make you pause and think things like “Wow, it’s great to be alive” but also it will make you think, “I wonder what the weather’s like in Switzerland right now?” What I’m saying is that you’ve got to follow the thread, follow Mike Young. The thread is a colorful thing that’s all tangled and strung in odd, unexpected ways. If it gets dark – don’t worry! – it’ll lighten up soon. If it’s too bright just shade your eyes and squint a little. It’ll all even out soon enough.




If I were to mail my heart, would I use bubblewrap?

9 Jun

I was stoked to see that Dark Sky Magazine’s new issue features a new poem from one of my favorite poets, Mike Young. It’s called “Is That It’s You” and it’s a dreamride of discursion about relationships and love. Since reading this poem earlier this week, I’ve read it several times, marveling at it’s brilliant balance of thought and emotion, of chaos and control. I like when a poem makes me remember, face, confront, and process things I already know but am too much of a chump to deal with. As a very much relationship-confused, recently graduated, soon-to-be divorced twenty-two year old, this poem is a much-needed, much-appreciated, and seriously wonderful wake-up alarm.

Check out the beginning below:

Relationships are full of meaningful emotional intensity,
such as when a fast car hits a child whose Halloween costume
lacked visibility. Often you will see one half of a relationship
alone, talking into a glass soda bottle as if it’s a microphone.
Good things in relationships include mutual hobbies, such as
mesmerism or zoo arson. Bad things include appointing
yourself the relationship’s sleep-time barber. One thing
surprisingly thorny in relationships is the deployment of
rhetorical questions. One thing that gets better is vistas.

You Are Not the Food

23 Feb

Just had one of my Google Reader meltdowns where I couldn’t handle everything sitting there, waiting for me to read it: I needed to have the feeling that things were off my plate, accomplished, and done with. So, I cleared my Reader, marked everything as read, although I didn’t read hardly any of it, which means I’m probably going to miss a lot of good stuff in PANK and The Collagist and Word Riot and Dogzplot and the other handful of journals I follow through feeds.

But. I had been meaning to vouch this for the past week or so now, and I wasn’t going to rob you of this. I actually got to see this live, Mike Young’s piece, “You Are Not the Food” at Everyday Genius, which he initially read as part of the Beecher’s-Publishing Genius Reading at the National Zoo at AWP (photos here) a couple weeks ago.

You are near the meal ticket on the edge. Have you seen the apple crisp and can I get a brisket. Flesh of jiggles, flesh that’s dried. Hallelujah butter glisten. Cornbread dressing and fried tilapia and macaroni and chickpea salad. Taco shells and caramel pudding and mystery spare ribs and parmesan butter and Slurpee rotisseries.

You can’t just read this poem in your head. You can’t just hear Mike read this poem (though this helps). You have to read it out loud to yourself. You have to feel your tongue slap, mouth wrack, lips slip over the tickle tantrum tastes. If not, you’re missing the point.


5 Nov

As Christopher said before, we are stoked to be joining forces for a bimonthly column at Smalldoggies Magazine, getting a chance to go a little overboard on some of our favorite Vouched writers.

Yesterday, my first post went up, featuring an interview with Mike Young, author of the newly released We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough (Publishing Genius), as well as a review and a special piece of his work.

After Vouching about Mike awhile back, it was a truly funcoolawesome thing to get to do this full length post about him. Please check it out. Please check out his writing. Please check back here.


Three Responses by Mike Young in >kill author

9 Oct

I feel like I’m constantly following Mike Young’s writing around the web, checking out his blog, sharing his HTMLGIANT updates on GoogleReader, telling my Facebook friends to check out his new stuff. Like these three pieces in the new >kill author.

I mean, seriously, isn’t this just wicked word flow? (from Response #15):

Every public bathroom is an opportunity for terror. I’m talking the kind where you get a whole room. Lock on the door. But maybe you’re bolting so fast you forget to bolt. Maybe the lock doesn’t work. So you find yourself saying “Wait, wait, occupied, hang on” but it’s always too timid or too late. I don’t mean for this to be a stand-up routine. Some goof like Dane Cook, he could ape this pretty good. Do something with one leg in the air and the microphone in a weird tuck. Then we’d laugh together in the audience, like you know me and I know you, some big splatter of yeah!

Again, again, again, Mike Young brings the real cool stuff, and again, I’m trying to tell people about it.

Try Harder.

3 Jul

Mike Young’s We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough reads at first like something disjointed, with lines and images that seem to all bleed into something mostly nonsensical, that leave you wondering the why of what they might be trying to tell you or convey, if they’re trying to convey anything at all beyond sound or silly, because there are poets these days who do only that and you’re not particularly partial to that, you like to communicate with the text.

And, just when you’re about to possibly put down the book, you read:

Amateur opera singers do their own makeup.
The higher you go, the more your face gets
installed. Then it dries and waits for your
approval. I keep getting submitted to
withdrawal. We all say things none of us
believe, like “gift economy.” Or “wait.”

It maybe hurts a little, and if not you at least stop to appreciate the image of installing a face. While appreciating, somewhere far back in your head recalls a title from earlier in the book, “You Can Know That Wait Means Stay,” how it makes those last two words take on a new meaning, a new weight, and you wonder about the earlier poem, this permission granted.

You turn back a few pages and read “You Can Know…” again and this time it reads as an ache and a silence, and there it is—a Rube Goldberg machine in the words and pages, these small and big parts, some silly and some more obviously utile, all working for a greater whole—this gathering of attempts at connection, and just as in life some of it falls short, some of it is perhaps a little close to Young’s brainspace for us to really get the exact object or event or maybe even emotion he’s trying to convey, but then there are these shining moments (“Keep the lights on through all loss. Don’t forget: / brilliant also means that none of us can see.”) where you take Young’s title at its word and try just a bit harder.

You try so hard you think maybe you’re reaching for something not there, but you go ahead and let yourself reach, let yourself go a little into a space more like where Young may have been while seeing the world and writing it into these poems, and ripcord!

You’re off and feeling, and there’s ache and there’s joy and there’s anger and laughter, and you want to shake Young’s hand and call him Mike instead and buy him a gin and tonic and laugh balls.

You begin turning back pages and rereading some poems you thought were maybe just simple strings of sounds and where before there was only mouth cartwheels, now meaning and conveyance! and he’s begging you, Mike is actually begging you, “Please listen I have something to tell you. Please tell me I have something.” And you listen.