In Dean Young's sprawling and subversive first book of prose on poetry, The Art of Recklessness
, imagination swerves into primitivism and into surrealism and finally toward empathy. How can recklessness guide the poet, the artist, and the reader into art, and how can it excite in us a sort of wild receptivity, beyond craft? "Poetry is not a discipline," Young writes. "It is a hunger, a revolt, a drive, a mash note, a fright, a tantrum, a grief, a hoax, a debacle, an application, an affect. We cannot make the gods come. All we can do is sweep the steps of the temple, and thus we sit down to our desks. When art strives for the decorums of craft, it withers to table manners during a famine." This is the smart and emotional argument by one of America's boldest and imaginative poets.