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Rhode Island Notebook
     

Rhode Island Notebook

by Gabriel Gudding
 

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Not since On the Road has a book been more thoroughly of the road. Unlike Kerouac's novel, however, this book was literally written on the road in Gudding's own car, on pad and paper while driving. Rhode Island Notebook is the handwritten account of one driver's journey to happiness in the face of grief. This book-length poem chronicles the break-up of a family and

Overview

Not since On the Road has a book been more thoroughly of the road. Unlike Kerouac's novel, however, this book was literally written on the road in Gudding's own car, on pad and paper while driving. Rhode Island Notebook is the handwritten account of one driver's journey to happiness in the face of grief. This book-length poem chronicles the break-up of a family and the separation of a father and daughter, while at the same time recording the rise of jingoism in the United States in the moments before and during the invasion of Iraq.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

shines like a beacon in dismal times' -Peter O'Leary, The Cultural Society

Dalkey Archive Press

Boston Review
In a crowded field, Gudding's work demands attention.

Library Journal

Once the source of national identity and possibility that inspired Walt Whitman and Jack Kerouac, the American road has become domesticated, even routine. But Gudding's latest book (after his inventive and irreverent 2002 debut, A Defense of Poetry) repurposes the linear progression of highway signs, roadkill, and fast-food joints into a medium for multivalent self-discovery. "When driving long distances a person enters a kind of snakedance psychosis," he writes, and this journal-in-verse, composed during 26 round trips he took between Illinois and Rhode Island-visiting his beloved young daughter and estranged spouse-brims with spontaneous meditations that range from scatological to eschatological, personal to political, comedic (e.g., "Billboards/are the palm trees of Indiana") to heartbreaking (e.g., "Clio was so sad/her hair & face small/as if she'd swallowed herself"). Omnidirectional in its attentions, the book nevertheless attains fugal coherence through repeated themes and rhetorical structures. It's a long, often wild, and sometimes uncomfortable ride, but when the head and heart sharing the driving are as imaginative as Gudding's, the road brings many surprises. Recommended.
—Fred Muratori

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781564784797
Publisher:
Dalkey Archive Press
Publication date:
11/28/2007
Series:
American Literature (Dalkey Archive) Series
Pages:
436
Sales rank:
1,394,574
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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Meet the Author

Gudding is an assistant professor of English at Illinois State University.

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