Deeds Of Utmost Kindness / Edition 1

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A haunting and peculiar travelogue, Deeds of the Utmost Kindness employs forms as diverse as haiku and prose poetry in settings that range from Japan to the rural Ozarks to contemporary Moscow. The compelling strangeness of the poems’ precise details exposes varied rhythms of thought and illustrated how different logics work in the metaphoric structures of changing places . Yet behind the uneasy sense of dislocation felt by the constant traveler lies the personal, essentially moral, voice of the poet as observer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Gander's ( Lynchburg ) third collection contains six long poem sequences tied loosely together by a theme of journeying (Russia, Japan, the Ozarks) or exploring from a stagnant place (rocks, landscape). Whether in a portrait of someone being hit by cars while working on the highway or a country boy driving his pickup, there is an inbred (and often haunting) spirituality. The Japan sequence, for example, includes a description of one Buddha surrounded by thousands of smaller statues, ``each placed by a woman whose child was stillborn, or aborted, or wounded fatally in birth.'' In the book's most ambitious sequence, a friend about to die creates a catalogue of everything he'll bring along on his journey. Intrigued by ``the sudden appearance / of the commonplace,'' the poet also tosses off images such as birds ``gargling from a puddle.'' Again and again this traveler's eye comes to rest on a woman, describing her with a sensual desire partially for her, partially for a woman at home. The tricky typography of many pages creates a shallow surface for writing that is far from superficial, yet when emotion overpowers him, this poet has no time for facile eye-hand line coordination. (Feb.)
From The Critics
"One of the most original and fascinating books of poetry I have seen in some time. As its strange travelogue format becomes apparent, it begins to seem the fulfillment of these lines from 'Figures of Travel': 'the language which escapes you in one country haunts you in another.' One hears so much about how contemporary poetry has alienated its audience, but this book seems one to which people who read contemporary fiction would be strongly attracted"
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780819512123
  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/1994
  • Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 92
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.22 (d)

Meet the Author

FORREST GANDER is Associate Professor of English at Providence College in Rhode Island and author of Lynchburg (1993) and Rush to the Lake (1988).

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Table of Contents

Prelude 1
Roasted Gingko 5
The Blue Rock Collection 17
Ozark Log 27
The Second Presence 41
Librettos for Eros 51
The Faculty for Hearing the Silence of Jesus 61
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