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No Other Life Paperback – May, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


...This is a book one must wrestle with as well as read. -- Sherod Santos

Gary Young has honed a sinuous, brief prose-poem form that carries a flavor uniquely its own... -- Jane Hirshfield

The language has been so thoroughly puri?ed that truth becomes, in the telling, austerely beautiful. -- Jay Parini

There's no word for what Young does, only for what he accomplishes... -- Dorianne Laux

Transparent and refreshing, vital... This is a book Basho would admire. -- Sam Hamill

About the Author

GARY YOUNG, husband and father of two, is a master letterpress printer, longtime teacher, and much-collected visual artist. He is the author of four previous collections of poems, Hands, The Dream of a Moral Life, Days, and Braver Deeds which won the 1999 Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, including Poetry, Antaeus, The American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review and The Nation. Among his honors are the James D. Phelan Award, a Pushcart Prize, and grants from the Vogelstein Foundation and the California Arts Council. He has been awards fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowmentfor the Humanities. He edits the Greenhouse Review Press and is a well-known printer and book artist whose work is represented in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Getty Center for the Arts. Young lives and works in the Santa Cruz mountains.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Creative Arts Book Company; 1st edition (May 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887394957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887394959
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read all the prose poems I can find in anthologies and magazines. Of all the people using the prose poem now, Gary Young is the most unassuming and the best. Our American Basho, operating with zero fanfare.

These poems are short and untitled and deceptively easy to read. They are humble. And yet I've never found so much emotion in so little space. I'm on the floor before I know it.

This book actually contains three of Gary Young's previously published books: Days, Braver Deeds, and If He Had. In the poems included here, especially in Braver Deeds, there is tremendous loss of life. Parents, children and beloveds die. Imagine reading the headlines from Iraq, but without being able to close your heart.

His new poems, being published now in magazines like Sentence: a journal of prose poetics, are gentler. Celebration is made real by its grounding in the knowledge of loss. Hopefully these new poems will soon be included in a book.

All hail Gary Young! We would buy him a sushi dinner for sure, if he ever showed up in Tokyoland.

I won't quote my favorite Gary Young poems--it's better to just come across them and let them catch you unguarded. Here's one picked at random.

(from page 80)

My son is learning about death, about the possibilities. His cat was killed. Then Mark died, then Ernesto. He watched the news, and saw soldiers bulldozed into the earth after battle. Down the road, a boy his age was found floating in a pond. My son says, we're careful about water, and splashes in his own warm bath. We don't want to die, he says, we want to live forever. We only just die later, he says, and nods his head. Death is comprehensible; what comes later is a week away, or two, and never arrives.
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Format: Paperback
No Other Life diligently gathers into a single volume the three books written by Gary Young and includes "Days"; "Braver Deeds" and "If He Had". No Other Life is a creatively compiled union of Gary Young's greatest and most meaningful poetry and prose. A highly recommended read any and all poetry and lyrical prose enthusiasts who appreciate these literary artforms. I had never seen her so angry, and her rage revealed a measure of love I had missed. There were many times she might have hurt me that way and didn't. p. 50
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Young does an excellent job demonstrating some of the range that realistic prose poems can reach. His writing in this book is often grounded in family situations and nature scenes. The prevalence of nature imagery left me with an impression of Annie Dillard's essays being condensed into a single paragraph. Likewise, the recurring brevity gave the feeling of a haiku from arising from a genuinely English-language perspective.

The first and third sections of this collection are more encouraging, while the middle section presents more sobering contemplations.

All in all---an interesting foray into what can be accomplished with few words.
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