Writing Now Reading Series
Forrest Gander’s books of poetry include Eye Against Eye, Torn Away, and Science and Steepleflower. Though primarily a poet, Gander is also a translator, novelist, essays and the editor of several anthologies. He has won the Whiting Writers’ Award, a Howard Foundation Award, the Jessica Nobel Maxwell Memorial Prize, and two Gertrude Stein Awards for innovative North American writing. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and United States Artists. He has taught at Harvard and Brown. His most recent book Be With is a longlist finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry.
Drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section—a moving transcription of Gander’s efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer’s—rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation. Gander has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, “the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane.” Be with was long-listed for the 2018 National Poetry Book Award.
Forrest Gander (1956– ) was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. With degrees in both geology and English literature, Gander is the author of numerous books of poetry, translation, fiction, and essays. He’s the A.K. Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University. A U.S. Artists Rockefeller fellow, Gander has been recipient of grants from the NEA, the Guggenheim, Howard, Witter Bynner and Whiting foundations. His 2011 collection Core Samples from the World was an NBCC and Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry.