Little Planet Raisins Paperback – July 14, 2020
by Jason Youngclaus (Author)
Jason Youngclaus has created a world within "Little Planet Raisins," written into existence with a unique and comforting voice comparable to Ginsberg and Kerouac, with a dash of the Romanticism that first inspired him to write. In this world, you follow a path --- a beaten road through maybe-messed-up lower-middle class America, lined with gods and goddesses like those in "The Cliffs of Thera." Where the real world meets constant mythological references, there is a steady level of realism throughout, and counteractive surreality playing in "Raisins," but most comfortingly is a sense of nostalgia which supports the mantra found in the folds of this book: "I am not a modern man." We wouldn't want you to be modern anyway, Jason; the old soul voice that carries through this collection is undeniably comforting, in a day and age where we need comfort more than ever... An exquisite collection in a number of ways, but perhaps most strongly is the vision that Jason has created: a little planet, abound with folds and wrinkles (not unlike a raisin's), full of life. Take your time reading, and dive into every detail.
--- Maxine L. Peseke, Swimming With Elephants Publications
I am dyed-in-the wool urban poet, so I can appreciate the poetry of Jason Youngclaus. He is no slouch with invoking nature and the landscape, and he finds them in the sprawling metropolis of New York City, to the smaller burgs like Somerville, and Worcester, MA. He takes us to the Woodlawn Cemetry in the Bronx, New York where he spies the 'cool' spot and grave of Miles Davis. He is a master of detail with a poem about an old diner he haunted when he was a an undergraduate at Holy Cross. He brings in the bacon, the eggs, the ancient juke box, and the young wanderlust that he shared with his band of friends. Youngclaus is a holy fool in the best sense of the word, as he searches for the essence that we try to capture, but often fail to."
-Doug Holder/ Lecturer Creative Writing--Endicott College/ Arts Editor of The Somerville Times
"In this impressive debut collection, Jason Youngclaus acrobats the reader through train car diners, pawn shops, bars, the cliffs of Thera, and the whole zoo of human existence, moving us through time and space, through rage and restraint, love and longing, from California to the Himalayas and even into the dust of stars as he mines new rhymes from ancient myths, dusting off the old gods and strapping them across the hoods of chrome wheeled American engines to weave us through the pileup of all those personal and historical narratives we only barely survive, but somehow do, with Blakean persistence, to come out wiser, if wearier, on the other side. To borrow from the poet's own words, these are poems "entrenched in celebratory rebellion/through gust and squall to sail/ from that bedamned lack of plenty." Little Planet Raisins is the work of a poet well on his way."
-Matt W. Miller, author of Club Icarus, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry