Literary Nonfiction. Essays. Poetry. "'From just about every angle, poetry is much richer and messier, ' Charles North observes, 'than many on the outside would have it.' Throughout this gathering of over three decades' worth of criticism North combines an insider's knowledge of what really matters in poetry with an enviable ability to communicate his enthusiasms and discoveries in lucid, compelling terms. Urbane, witty, never afraid to challenge received wisdom, North is an ideal guide to the immeasurable surprises lurking in the poetry of both the canonical and the overlooked. This exemplary volume presents the deeply pondered responses of a poet- critic who understands intellectually and viscerally the state of his art, and the complex interplay the best poetry develops between ideas and feelings, between richness and mess."-- Mark Ford
"North staunchly defies received ideas about 'why poetry matters, ' displaying a with no less passionate for being fueled by skepticism. At one point he asks, 'Is poetics conceivably more exciting than poetry?' By the time we get to the question, we've been primed already by generous samplings from the poetry of James Schuyler, Barbara Guest, Joseph Ceravolo, David Schubert, Frank O'Hara, Elizabeth Bishop, and John Ashberry, among others. North's readings of works by fellow poets and artists are vital in their celebration of disjunction and their refusal to approach the works via interpretation, reminding us that poetry is, after all, inexhaustible."--Monica de la Torre
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