Deeds of Utmost Kindness

Deeds of Utmost Kindness

by Forrest Gander
     
 
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

Overview

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.

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.)
"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"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780819522092
Publisher:
Wesleyan University Press
Publication date:
01/01/1994
Series:
Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages:
86
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

What People are saying about this

John Ashbery
“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”
Robert Creeley
“Gander is exceptional in the subtlety of his perception and proposals, a great ‘reader’ pf other cultures, and a very resourceful poet.”

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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