25 Points: Sprezzatura

by Mike Young
Publishing Genius Press, 2014
132 pages / $14.95 buy from Publishing Genius

1. Deep down he thinks he’s too much of a redneck to have got into Husker Du.

2. Syntax 1: His syntax is fascinating. Someone – can’t remember who – once said that ‘a poem should be a machine for re-reading’ and that’s what you do here. You read, you skate across the surface and then you re-read and it’s different the next time and you can’t get bored.

3. Syntax 2: Because of this, it sometimes seems like he’s put a real long scroll of paper into a typewriter emulator and just kept on Benzedrine-typing until he was finished.

4. Don’t get carried away with the Benzedrine though. There’s something else going on here:

“Often I throw a tennis ball against the wall and hope

the people downstairs believe more people exist

above them than really do…”

There’s a bit of craft at work here. Don’t get carried away with the Benzedrine. This isn’t just typing.

5. ‘On the bus, I pass through unobtainable wi-fi’ might be one of the best lines I’ve heard to sum up now, right now.

6. There are things here in this book. Things everywhere. Nouns.

7. There are unfashionable adjectives with fashionable nouns and fashionable nouns with unfashionable adjectives everywhere here.

8. Mike Young is a poetic phrase-maker in a way you don’t see too much in contemporary literature/Alt-Lit etc. He’s bringing phrase making back and making it cool.

9. I want to make a phrase now but you know you can’t just make a phrase just out of the blue as easy as you might think, it’s hard. If you plan it too much and try to think of a noun and an adjective and put them together the only noun you end up thinking of it ‘sea’ and the only adjective is ‘blue’ (or if you’re feeling revolutionary ‘green’) and that was all well and good 700 years ago but now it’s just some blue or green sea that isn’t even good enough for a corporate advertising slogan advertising shower gel let alone a book of writing/poems. So, it’s hard making phrases. It’s an art form. It’s easier to consciously make a bad one. This book is full of none-bad phrases. Here’s some:

10. ‘…imported mango soda’

11. ‘…the opposite of falsetto’

12. ‘…joy inside the soda store’

13. ‘Horse-cum soda’

14. ‘…soda made for cosmonauts’

15. How old is Mike Young? Sometimes I wonder how old these writers are, these writers that I review. I think maybe it’s because I expect them to be younger than me and then sometimes they have certain reference points that make me think they might be my age like ‘cosmonauts’ and references to Marty McFly and then I remember there’s the internet now and repeats of mid-80s blockbuster films and I’m too young for the fucking space-race anyway (I’m the end of Generation X not the beginning) so how old is Mike Young?

16. Each and every poem in this book is somehow massive. Did I say that yet? They’re somehow massive. I don’t know how, that’s why I said somehow. I’m not sure what pattern of decimals holds them together or where they come from to arrive at their massiveness but they’re massive. I wonder is he knows what I mean. Read the book. See if you know what I mean.

17. Is there a bit of flarf involved here, sometimes? I’m surely not above a bit of flarf. I think it’s one of the better ways of producing writing, of making phrases, of doing all the good stuff. Google it. Google everything. There is too much language in the world sitting there doing nothing useful. Flarf redeems it.

18. Oh man! What! ‘…the implied foreverness of a water fountain’. Fantastic! Is it me or is that just fucking ace?


A M E R I C A I S A M E R I C A’ S M O S T P R O M I N E N T

H O M O S E X U A L S C I – F I A U T H O R


It is America in KFC tonight. They are out of corn cobs.

In KFC tonight, America is embarrassed over sandwich

promotions that America herself invented. To improve

social skills, what I do is I buy pancake mix. Every stranger

is an opportunity to get mugged or host a sing-along. Many car

commercials feature Highway 1, and if I were Highway 1, I would

sue their asses. Why do ukulele players get the deepest voices?

In KFC tonight, mysteries live forever, such as why did order 283

come right after 281? When strangers talk about their relationships,

I always feel like they’re lying, but once I get to know them I feel

the same. It is America in America tonight, and everyone is

camped inside their own music video, by which I mean they’re

orbited by playlists. Knowing I’ll turn to pixie dust makes me

no less ashamed about participating in an endorsement of KFC’s

coops. Aw, who am I kidding? Not you, that’s for sure. Can’t fool

me is a thing my heart says while it’s chasing me with voter

registration information for a place I refuse to believe I live in.

What I like to do is walk on train tracks and feel things I

shouldn’t. Where I like to walk is past the houses of friends

without visiting. It is America in KFC tonight and only Leidner

knows I’m here because I keep texting him IT IS AMERICA IN

you get the idea. Oh not me, you say. I didn’t get an idea. I am

order 282. I ordered this strange thing I think is a potato.

20. About Point 19. Look just read it. Yeah it’s the whole poem. Just read it. Then buy the book.

21. I know that Husker Du passed him by and maybe he doesn’t like DFW either but that poem in point 19 sometimes made me think of DFW’s ‘This is Water’ thing you can find on YouTube.

22. A lot of the titles of the poems double up like they’re asking you something twice. It’s odd. I don’t understand it. It’s quite forceful somehow, which suits the whole production.

23. There’s nature in this book sometimes. I don’t really understand nature. There’s nature and also technology. I think Mike Young might understand both nature AND technology.

24. Tom Waits is mentioned a couple of times. This makes a hell of a lot of sense somehow. It is appropriate.

25. I still think Mike Young might enjoy still be able to enjoy Husker Du at some time in the future but they would’ve been better if it was Mike Young who had written their lyrics.


Richard Brammer is the author of three books ‘MDMA and Menthol Cigarettes’, ‘Public Dick Punk 83’ and ‘Cult Boyfriend’ that are all available from Amazon here but isn’t the author of the German version of the book about Adobe Publishing Suite and nor is he the author of ‘Cuckoos of the World’. Or just get his free PDFs from Richard Brammer is Unwell.



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  1. Sprezzatura by Mike Young | Publishing Genius Press

      […] “There’s nature in this book sometimes. I don’t really understand nature. There’s nature and also technology. I think Mike Young might understand both nature and technology.” — Richard Brammer @ HTMLGIANT […]