Gary Young is one of the most well-known practitioners of the prose poem and his unique sinuous, brief style has a flavor all its’s own. This collection includes work selected from six previously published volumes and two unpublished sequences of new work.
Gary Young is a poet and artist whose honors include grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Vogelstein Foundation, the California Arts Council, and two fellowship grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2009 he received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He has received a Pushcart Prize, and his book of poems, The Dream of a Moral Life, won the James D. Phelan Award. He is the author of several other collections of poetry including Hands, Days, Braver Deeds (which won the Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize), No Other Life (winner of the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America), and most recently, Pleasure.
Even So: New and Selected Poems
Gary Young. White Pine Press (Consortium, dist.), $18 trade paper (232p) ISBN 978-1-935210-33-7
Since the 1970s, Young has been publishing almost unbelievably intimate and precise poems, most of them in brief, untitled prose blocks, about the small details of love, marriage, parenthood, and close observation of the world at hand. This retrospective gathers many of these pieces, which, despite the small scope of each one, amount to a highly ambitious body of work taken together. What happens in these pieces is hard to summarize, so here is one, quoted in full: “My son wakes screaming. His dreams are real; he’s riding a horse, and the horse falls down. He’s so young, I don’t know how to tell him all our joy is wrung from that terror. Did you like it, I ask him. Fall down, he cries, fall down. Did you like riding the horse? And he looks at me, stops sobbing, and says, yes.” As is the case in the piece above, Young writes with a unique combination of wisdom and terror, engendering a kind of sad calm, a hard-earned acceptance of life’s difficulty and openness to its beauty: “This morning I smelled freesias in the garden and closed my eyes. Suddenly I was young again, and you were still alive.” (Apr.)
“Gary Young has honed a sinous, brief prose-poem form that carries a flavor, uniquely its own—unflinching, strigent in beauty, austerely moving.”
“I was struck by the wisdom of this work, a quiet wisdom that inheres in images so fully imagined that one can never forget them. The language has been so throughly purified that truth becomes, in the telling, austerely beautiful.”
“There’s no word for what Young does, only for what he accomplishes—the capturing of small, daily miracles.”
“Like a modern day realist’s morality tales, these poems are backed by a moral prupose as compelling and dramatic as it is instructive and wise. This is a book one must wrestle with as well as read.”
260 pages (Original Trade Paperback)
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