Sample Poems
The Day Underneath the Day
The Second Person
grey squareThe Halo
The Affliction

The Halo

Four Way Books, 2016

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The latest Collection of Poetry from an Award Winning Poet


The Halo is quasi-autobiography about a man who has wings and wants desperately to simply be human. Tracking from adolescence through adulthood, it explores an accident that temporarily paralyzes him and exposes him to human weakness all the way to his transformation into something more powerful than even he realizes. It explores a personal evolution from being prey to becoming the hunter.

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Praise for The Halo

From Hyphen Magazine

"[The Halo] is obsessed with precision, or perhaps more accurately, human inability to be precise. Despite the vast cultural archives from which Young draws, the book never once wavers from precise five-line stanzas. He adheres to his own lines, that poems are '�those / intricate machines of delicacy and controlled measures.' Poetry is both mechanical and imaginative, intentional and uncontrollable."

From Publishers Weekly

"In this beautifully written and unsettling collection, Young (Torn) moves through the moments of his speaker's oft-broken life as he struggles to come to terms with the truths of his body and the world in which he exists. For much of the book, the speaker hovers between past traumas and how they affect his present�learning as a boy "to avoid danger, avoid fear" and as an adult recovering from a fractured spine caused by a car accident: "The dream/ always starts with the sound of breaking glass,/ the still surprising smell of burning rubber." It appears that Young wants the reader to take these experiences literally, but they also double as conceits for the mental and physical pains that derive from his speaker's attempts to negotiate his Catholicism with his homosexuality: "Because my wings had already erupted from between/ my shoulder blades. Because I had coveted/ another man in that secret space of my own head." Although these metaphors are well constructed, it seems that even Young is aware that, at times, they exist more to obscure than to reveal his speaker's truths: "Much of this world remains hidden, and/ all the science in the world cannot illuminate/ every dark corner, much less the corners of the mind." (Mar.)

Praise for C. Dale Young

From The Washington Post

"Sometimes the ability to convey information compactly and quickly has moral grace. [Young's] writing can put garrulous narration or evasive speechifying to shame." --Robert Pinsky

From the New York Times Book Review

"Young's poems are so fierce and serrated."

From NPR

"Young is a doctor as well as a poet, and [his poetry] demonstrates a skilled physician�s combination of empathy and formal precision.� "

From the Los Angeles Review of Books

"Like medicine, poetry may demand that we treat wounds, that we understand mortality, that we apply all possible skill to the often messy terrain of human life. But poetry can also demand that we not repair, that we leave torn what is torn. This is Young�s great gift. He balances his desire to treat his subjects exquisitely and assiduously with his healthy skepticism about easy resolutions."

From Kenyon Review Online

"The thrill of Young's work (paradoxically) is that it takes place in slow motion. The collision is set in motion early in the poem, and inexorably, the impact approaches. The endings of his poems are devastating precisely because they have been coming for so long. He makes us wait, but always delivers."