What It Is Like — New and Selected Poems

Charles North

What It Is Like, Charles North’s tenth book of poems, contains new work as well as a generous selection from his previous books. North’s poetry has received high praise from a wide variety of aesthetic camps. Among his awards are a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant, two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, four Fund for Poetry Awards and a Poets Foundation Award. Additionally, this book of poems was named one of the year’s best poetry books by National Public Radio.

“North is a younger compatriot of O’Hara and Ashbery, and his nonchalance aspiring to greatness finds the same ‘risks inside art’ that the other New York School poets found in the city. Juggling a satiric self-consciousness with a ‘strange mischief,’ North pulls death-defying propositions and playful mockeries from thin air.”
— Publishers Weekly

“The business of examining exactly what one means is central to North’s concept of the role of the poet, and he is especially alert to the way particulars and ideas interact in our constructions of meaning. The urge to hold out ‘particulars’ to the reader is mediated through an alert, sophisticated consciousness insistently aware of convention and genre.”
— Mark Ford

“The challenge of writing about the sensual qualities of New York City which seems so tired, by North’s pen becomes transcendent again. And that’s only one of the things his poetry accomplishes. He is witty when wit seems all but lost, gorgeous when gorgeousness is supposed to have crawled off to wherever Frank O’Hara’s odes come from.”
— Ange Mlinko