No Other Way: Selected Prose

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Nonfiction. "What distinguishes these essays and reviews is Charles North's generosity of spirit and an intelligence that never outsmarts its subject but is there to serve it and the reader. You finish one of North's lucid essays and you want to read the poems or look at the pictures for yourself. This is criticism by a writer unafraid of his own enthusiasms who writes as if taking part in an ongoing conversation. After this book, when you next read the poems of James Schuyler or look at the work of Richard ...
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Overview


Nonfiction. "What distinguishes these essays and reviews is Charles North's generosity of spirit and an intelligence that never outsmarts its subject but is there to serve it and the reader. You finish one of North's lucid essays and you want to read the poems or look at the pictures for yourself. This is criticism by a writer unafraid of his own enthusiasms who writes as if taking part in an ongoing conversation. After this book, when you next read the poems of James Schuyler or look at the work of Richard Tuttle, Charles North will be by your side. This is a wonderful book" -William Corbett
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
North's title is taken from an unnamed James Schuyler poem: "Many think that I am modest:/ they could not be more mistaken./ I'm a great poet: no other way." This miscellany of short and shorter pieces written over the last 20 years sums up North's critical dogmatism. The opener, "Life in (Mis-) Prision" (1976), is a critique of Harold Bloom's review of John Ashbery's poetry, a productive double-angled approach that North later uses in a (unpublished) letter to the New York Review of Books on Helen Vendler's positive review of James Schuyler's Selected Poems. In each case, North welcomes Bloom's and Vendler's praise but deprecates what he sees as their failure to deal with the basic issue of the poem as a work of art. In many of these 32 articles, North discusses poets of the New York School(s), but he rarely provides quotations that would support his pronouncements. Exceptions to this frustrating omission are his pieces of Joseph Ceravelo, David Schubert, Schuyler and, especially, his fine, long essay on Kenneth Koch. One rewarding delight is a noninterview with Paul Violi. After a failed attempt to tape an interview with Violi, North put together "a sort of questionnaire" on "The N.Y. Poetry Scene/Short Form" in which the answers are in the questions. This is, at best, a slight book and at worst, somewhat annoying. North, poet-in-residence at Pace University and the author of nine books, has collected these short pieces into a slim book. Unfortunately, that lack of heft makes the occasional arrogance of tone doubly off-putting. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of casual ruminations, appreciations, and diaristic essays from a longtime New York poet/advocate. In these pieces treating of the poetry (or prose) of James Schuyler, Elizabeth Bishop, John Hollander, Joseph Ceravolo, Kenneth Koch, John Ashbery, and artists including Fairfield Porter, Trevor Winkfield, and Edith Schloss, North (New & Selected Poems, 1998, etc.) comes across as that likeably easygoing fellow we've all met at parties who, upon prolonged exposure, reveals himself to be more dogmatic in his tastes than was first suspected. Readers who share Northþs bent or who are curious to learn more of the New York School have something to gain from his devoted yet not uncritical insiderþs view (þ. it strikes me that Ashbery is one of the most self-indulgent writers who ever livedþ). Others will find that for them his chosen range is too narrow. North will not persuade the unconverted when he praises a poetics capable of producing verse as ostentatiously terrible as "I have a death rattle in my nose I have summer in my/brain water/I have dreams in my toes" from Koch's "The Art of Love," which lines North calls both "strong" and "moving." At times, he is too much the apologist, as when North notes, þIn the fifties when Ashbery began, one of the things left to do was to leave out. In the climate of serious, high-toned and academic verse that had poetry gasping for air, it was left to be anti-academic and irreverent like the poets in New York." These latter poets' experiments with sense would later also leave some poetry aficionados gasping. North's emphasis on poetry's pure sensory appeal, his shrewd sensitivity to play as a necessary poeticimpulse, and his general resistance to the scholarly establishment are all potentially refreshing. But the author tests our patience and sometimes wastes his critical faculties on poems unworthy of either.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781882413522
  • Publisher: Hanging Loose Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Pages: 172
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Life in (Mis-)Prision 9
Richard Tuttle: Small Pleasures 20
Wild Provoke of the Endurance Sky 25
Two Painters of the Mediterranean 30
Abstraction and Elizabeth Bishop 35
Words from F.T. Prince 38
No Other Way 42
Trevor Winkfield's Radical Daftness 47
Kenneth Koch in Public 50
Frances Waldman 72
The N. Y. Poetry Scene/Short Form 74
Forty Years Later: The Poems of David Schubert 82
Statement for Out of This World 86
My Mother, Life 88
To The New York Review of Books 91
Splurge II 96
New York Schools 103
Schuyler's Mighty Line (with an Essay Question) 110
Commentary for Joe Soap's Canoe 118
Leaping & Creeping: Several Lectures 120
Seven Days in July 133
Tony Towle's New York Poems 136
Statement for Pataphysics 140
John Hollander's Types of Shape 141
Art in Its Own Terms: Fairfield Porter's Critical Writing 143
On & For Jim Brodey 148
10 Essays for Barbara Guest 152
Lineups II 157
A Midwinter Lineup 159
Trevor Winkfield's Prose Writings 162
Edward Barrett's Preludes 164
The Indulgence Principle 167
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