Barbara Young

Barbara Young is a native of Tennessee. She wrote poetry in high school, won a contest with a disappointing prize, went away to a small Baptist college. The nineteen-seventies are a blank during which she gave up writing in the belief that poetry should have something important to say, and she had nothing. Years later she discovered writing prompts, decided that important things were over-rated, and eventually – having found no other calling – began to admit to being a poet.

      We’ve rubbed poetic elbows a time or two over the years and I’ve always loved her scrimshaw poems and her face.   Which one more, I’m unsure.

      Now that I have this beautiful endearing encouraging book, Heirloom Language, I like keeping it not far from reach.   Often I can read one, maybe two poems before allowing the pages to rest and me, restore my breath.   Her voice deserves savoring!   I’ve long admired her work, but here, this is a feast laid on the tabletop.

      From plain-as-common-sight, close enough to touch, real as my feet, then sprinting off to cyclones higher than my thoughts.   Amazing Barbara, whoever, whatever, you are.   You make me glad I can read.    nr

says Barbara,

I’m not sure what I think big-B Beauty is.   Doubt there’s a vault outside of the universe with all the Ideals sitting around sipping ideal beverages.   Beautiful, though, is a lot like funny.   It knocks you off what you always assumed was balance, and – for you if not for the rest of the world – it never gets old.

That the mind is filled with memories and processes, I know.   New things are kicked back out for lack of space, and now and then a word and its associations will appear in conversation, to leave me sounding erudite but feeling stunned.   Can a thought build itself in the background over the course of forty years?

Or an image will turn up, as if someone had tripped over an old shoebox full of photos, and that one had skated across the floor and into the dust bunny hutch under the bed, only to wiggle out months later as the answer to an unasked question.

Why does anyone write?