Eye Against Eye

Overview

"Among the most gifted and accomplished poets of his generation" (Mark Rudman).

The three long poems in Eye Against Eye convey the wrought particulars of intimate human relations, perceptions of the landscape, and the historical moment, tense with political exigencies. Mayan ruins invoke the collapsing Twin Towers, love between parents and child blister with tension, and a bicycle thief shatters the narcotic illusion of a private accord. Also ...
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Overview

"Among the most gifted and accomplished poets of his generation" (Mark Rudman).

The three long poems in Eye Against Eye convey the wrought particulars of intimate human relations, perceptions of the landscape, and the historical moment, tense with political exigencies. Mayan ruins invoke the collapsing Twin Towers, love between parents and child blister with tension, and a bicycle thief shatters the narcotic illusion of a private accord. Also contained is "Late Summer Entry," a series of poetic commentaries on Sally Mann's landscape photographs. Eye Against Eye, Forrest Gander's third book with New Directions, cries out an ethical concern for the ways we see each other and the world, the potential to share a vision that acknowledges our commonality. As always with Gander's poetry, suspensions and repetitions drive toward a complex emotional experience, evoking the multifaceted, multi-vocal surge of our present.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Certainly his clearest and most accessible, this taut and memorable sixth outing from Gander (Science & Steepleflower) may also be his breakout work. One of its four mid-length poems describes ten beautiful photographs by Sally Mann (also reproduced here), emphasizing their spiritual resonance as well as their technical flair: in a misty picture of a half-destroyed tree, "at the border between a tangible and an intangible world, life climbs onto death's shoulders." The other three mid-length poems flaunt narrative components: "Burning Towers, Standing Wall" (its title an allusion to 9/11 and to W. B. Yeats) examines Mayan architecture in Mexico, turning the visible stones, their "mutilated stelae" and "rubbed out glyphs," into a plea for patience in the face of violence, and there are deliberate and ambitious poems on the North American landscape. Perhaps the most powerful parts of this powerful volume are four prose poems called "Ligatures," reactions to difficult moments in the poet's family life, and in the life of his teenage son: here even the hardest domestic conflicts finally promise emotional reward, "as if inside experience, bright with meaning, there were another experience, pendant, unnamable." (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In his latest collection, Gander (Science & Steepleflower) asks questions concerning the things "which divide what and what once," that is, what was and what is now. The stunning opener, "Burning Towers, Standing Wall," compares the building of a Mayan wall and its destruction-both from political and natural forces-to the collapse of the Twin Towers. In three long poems, linked with pieces that contrast a couple's relationship with a boy's budding adolescence, the reader is asked to regard the relationships between words and subjects: "I am not given a subject but am given to my subject"; "Not the sentence is for the words but the words are for the sentence." Throughout, Gander's language is diverse, almost scientific (aigrette, mafic), yet onomatopoeic ("perwicka perwicka/ of a quetzal in flight") and often sensual ("stars some speak softly"); his syntax is musical and eclectic. Language plays to the ears and nose, senses with the capacity to evoke memory, that "thin memorial ache." Owing to the poems' placement and the near absence of punctuation, the reader is propelled through the verse, left with a sense of urgency and awe, not unlike the man in the last poem who witnesses the theft of a bicycle but finds himself powerless to stop it: "the world shifts/ along a hairline crack/ you can't tell/ what is happening/ until it moves on and is gone/ as someone and someone's grief/ careen around the corner." Recommended for collections with an emphasis in postmodern and experimental work.-Karla Huston, Appleton Art Ctr., WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811216357
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/5/2005
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Forrest Gander is the author of six books of poetry, various articles of literary criticism, and numerous translations. Besides winning a fellowship from the NEA, he has been the recipient of various awards including The Whiting Award, two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative North American Writing, a Pushcart Prize, and the Jessica Nobel Maxwell Memorial Prize from American Poetry Review. He is presently Director of the Graduate Program in Literary Arts at Brown University, where he also teaches Comparative Literature.
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