Day Underneath the Day

Day Underneath the Day

by C. Dale Young


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Winner of 2002 Norma Farber First Book Award Finalist

Gifted with a vivid and exact skill, C. Dale Young's writing resembles an intricate anatomy lesson. His powers of observation probe the small energies of the natural world. Again and again the ordinary details of life transform themselves under the delicate pressure of his words--the movement of birds' wings, the color and texture of tropical flowers, the study of the ocean waves, the "scalpel of light" cutting through the beginning of the day. The language of Young's poems evokes an ultimate sense of place through a gorgeous marriage of tone and diction that echoes James Merrill and Amy Clampitt. As he meticulously maps out human passions and emotions, he explores both the surfaces and depths of everything that he surveys. His confident and polished verse unfolds intricate layers of landscape, seeking the order that lies beneath the unruly patterns of our lives.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810151109
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 05/28/2001
Edition description: 1
Pages: 68
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

C. Dale Young grew up in the Caribbean and South Florida. He received both M.F.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Florida. He now practices medicine at the University of California in San Francisco and also serves as the poetry editor of New England Review. His work has been published in The Best American Poetry 1996, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, and Yale Review

Read an Excerpt

The Day Underneath the Day

By C. Dale Young

Northwestern University Press

Copyright © 2001 C. Dale Young
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0810151111

Homage to William Carlos Williams

I The Body

You removed integument.

You palpated red fibrils,

extracted breastplates,

exposed diaphragms.

You saw the once rhythmic heart

still silent, again and again, in a pool of formalin.

We begin the study of life

with our hands buried in the dead.

This is how you did it

and how we will always do it.

The body refuses the name body,

taking cadaver, meaning to fall.

II Corpus

Nothing could keep you away.

Not Histology. Not Gray's Anatomy.

You filled the margins of Physiology

with notes for poems.

Nothing could keep you away.

Not surgery. Not psychiatry. Not pediatrics.

Not the blankness of corridors.

Not the doctors you called teacher.

Not the New Jersey days silenced by snow.

Nothing could keep you away.

Not the little girl bundled against the winter sunlight.

Not the yellow wheelbarrow outside her window.

III The Body in Bloom

Geneva, the Lycee Condorcet in Paris,

the snow erasingeverything . . .

how easily you forgot

the scholastic virtue of traveling.

You did not question the lizards

that ate contradictions

--both flies and flower buds--

the way corpus encompassed

not only art but the body

silent in the morgue.

You did not question

the truth of liver,

the truth of lungs,

the truth of blood when we are cut

so the body blooms.

Complaint of the Medical Illustrator

Here is the incision;

it will be your gateway to the afterlife.

Pull back the skin slowly.

The dead will tolerate only so much disturbance.

The blood you believed

surrounded organs and muscle is not here, is it?

See the liver,

it will bear you no fortune if eaten--

the ancients lied.

The kidneys? No, they were ignored altogether.

Now the thorax

is probably what you are most interested in--

the lungs, the heart,

that all-too-popular organ among your profession.

As you can see,

St. Valentine himself would not have liked it;

it is not attractive.

Now tell me, poet: will this be enough

to write your poem

about your artist, this Luca Signorelli?

Does this

really help you understand how or why

he dissected

his only son's dead body?


Excerpted from The Day Underneath the Day by C. Dale Young Copyright © 2001 by C. Dale Young. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Homage to William Carlos Williams
Complaint of the Medical Illustrator
Water's Edge: Impasto in Orange Madder
Blue Springs
The Field
The Philosopher in Florida
The Apprentice
The Magus

The Footbridge in Summer
South Beach
Sunday Afternoon
The Effects of Sunset
Of the Garden Variety
The Lesson 
On Privilege
Unfinished Letter
Tuba Mirum
Cancer and Complaint at Midsummer

To the Bougainvillæa
Étiquette et l'Esthétique Tropicale
Devon House
For the Sake of Tiger Lilies
Ode to a Yellow Onion
Stella Maris
The Endless Cumulus
The Hotel di l'Altissimo
Port Royal
Queen's Sapphires

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