Friday, October 28, 2011


I recently finished reading 1984, one of many classics on my to-read list. I had what I’m pretty sure is a common experience in that I thought, as I read, that anyone who sees this as merely a science fiction novel doesn’t understand it. In fact, as O’Brien tortured Winston and explained the nature of reality from the point of view of the party, I recalled words from a senior aide to the Bush administration. It was unnerving how similar their thinking was.

Here is the paragraph from Ron Suskind’s article “Without a Doubt” published in 2004.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Here is how O’Brien characterizes reality in 1984:

But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes; only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.

In other words, as the senior Bush aide put it, “we create our own reality.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Well, for the few people out there who follow this – “fit though few” as Milton said – I decided I should start trying to keep this blog going a little. Instead of insisting that I must always and only post completed essays, which is prohibitive, I’m going to include updates on readings, publications and random thoughts on art, poetry, history, music, and anything else that I simply find interesting. I can only hope you find it interesting too.

It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything, that far too much has happened to post all at once. But to begin with what’s happened in my publishing life, my next 2 books have been accepted for publication: Living in the Counterpoint will be published by Finishing Line Press in January. This book is available now for prepublication purchase on their website:

I will here confess that I’m nervous about this period of purchasing. From now until November 10th, the number of people who order will determine how many copies will be printed in January. It is a nail-biting affair to receive e-mails of sales on a weekly basis and see how few have come in. Sadly, I have a long way to go. But my nerves aside, I’m very pleased with the cover. The photo was provided by my friend, Kaitlyn Chow.

Also, the people who blurbed the book were very generous in their comments:

“Michael T. Young has crafted a metaphysics of memory in all its ache and luster. These poems pin down ghosts; finger the stirrings of nostalgia and its seeming perpetuity. Through a yearning to define those feelings most elusive, Young succeeds in unveiling them. Living in the Counterpoint coaxes introspection and haunts like a summer dusk, it is a true achievement.”

-- Benjamin Evans
Executive Editor, Fogged Clarity

“With the deftness of a magician, Michael T. Young moves us seamlessly between point
and counterpoint, so seamlessly that we are almost unaware of the shifts from the living to the dead, from light to dark, near to far, and early to late. In tightly crafted gem-like poems, he contemplates fossils, diamonds, headstones, rivers, bridges, and even a slug, ultimately achieving and imparting ‘a deep knowledge of the earth.’”

-- Diane Lockward, Poet Laureate of West Caldwell, NJ and author of Temptation by Water

My next full-length collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, will be published by Black Coffee Press in 2013. It’s listed on their website under their imprint, Eight Ball Press:

In addition, many poems have recently been accepted for publication in print and online journals. The Potomac Review, Off the Coast, Edison Literary Review, Mayday and Eskew all took work recently. I’m currently in the online journals: Scythe, The Literary Bohemian, The Fine Line and Jellyroll. Links to them are below. My poem “Counting Apples” will be in the forthcoming issue of Meadowland Review.

The Literary Bohemian:
The Fine Line:

Well that’s a brief update of the year. Next week, I will try to post something more interesting than a laundry list.