No Other Life gathers in a single volume two earlier books by Gary Young, Days and the award-winning Braver Deeds, with the final book in his trilogy, If He Had.
Utilizing a radically brief prose poem that in its spare lucidity leaves afterimages burned into the reader's imagination, Young weaves a pattern of compelling and often harrowing correspondences that Ethan Paquin described in Quarterly West as "an exploration of thresholds, of levels of human endurance." Although every poem stands as an independent utterance, each book suggests a discrete poetic unit, and the entire trilogy can be read as a long poem in three parts.
Critic Stephen Kessler has written that despite the tragedy at the heart of this work, "there is also a sense of redemption and inspiration, of art capturing life at its most uncontrollable and squeezing out of it a sweetness that might otherwise go unnoticed."
Review: "Gary Young has honed a sinuous, brief prose-poem form that carries a flavor uniquely its own - unflinching, stringent in beauty, austerely moving."
"There's no word for what Young does, only for what he accomplishes - the capturing of small, daily miracles."
"Transparent and refreshing, vital like the stream that flows through the 'insulating mist' of his canyon, Gary Young's beautiful Days flows on in elegant simplicity. This is a book Basho would admire."
"I was struck by the wisdom of this work, a quiet wisdom that adheres in images so fully imagined that one can never forget them. The language has been so thoroughly purified that truth becomes, in the telling, austerely beautiful."
"Like a modern day realist's morality tales, these poems are backed by a moral purpose as compelling and dramatic as it is instructive and wise. This is a book one must wrestle with as well as read."
Bio: 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 awarded fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in November 2002, he was awarded an NEA grant for poetry for a second time. 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.