Dean Young, professor of English at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named the 2014 Texas State Poet Laureate by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Recognized nationally as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, Young holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry. He has published 12 books of poetry and one volume of prose on the aesthetics of poetry. Strongly influenced by the New York School poets, and Surrealists such as Andre Breton, Young’s poetry is full of wild leaps of illogic, extravagant imagery and mercurial shifts in tone. Using surrealist techniques like collage, Young’s poems often blur the boundaries between reality and imagination, creating a poetry that is enormously, almost disruptively, inclusive and engaging.
“In honoring these individuals we bring attention to the important role the arts play in shaping Texas’ cultural landscape,” says 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.”
Young 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.
“The great talents of the 2013-2014 State Artists, along with all of those who were nominated, help contribute to a distinctive cultural identity that makes Texas a great place to live, work and visit,” says state Rep. Ryan Guillen, chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism.