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Torn Awake

Overview

A new collection by one of America's most respected young experimental poets.
In his new collection Torn Awake, Gander continues to blend passion with intelligence, unveiling the forces of physical nature and personhood, the self as a construction of reciprocally reflective relations. Proposing models of hybridity, each of the book's major sequences develops a unique subject, rhythm, and form. Bringing to light the molten potential at the core of personality, the poems ...
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Overview

A new collection by one of America's most respected young experimental poets.
In his new collection Torn Awake, Gander continues to blend passion with intelligence, unveiling the forces of physical nature and personhood, the self as a construction of reciprocally reflective relations. Proposing models of hybridity, each of the book's major sequences develops a unique subject, rhythm, and form. Bringing to light the molten potential at the core of personality, the poems illuminate ways that language, as history read by anthropologists, discourse between lovers, gestures between parent and child, graffiti in temples, or even language as an event in itself (the very experience of words at play), incarnates presence. Addressing father and son relationships, and venerating erotic love, Gander's poems surge with vitality: the energy of active discovery.
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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
[S]hapes a fierce, unresolvable argument of worlds and words.
Bookforum
Robert Polito
[S]hapes a fierce, unresolvable argument of worlds and words.
Bookforum
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811214865
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 9/17/2001
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Forrest Gander grew up in Virginia and has degrees in geology and English literature. His recent books include the novel As a Friend andthe translation Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho (PEN
Translation Prize Finalist), both from New Directions. A United States
Artists Rockefeller Fellow, Gander is recipient of fellowships from the NEA,
the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting foundations. He is the Adele Kellenberg
Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown
University.
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Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


THE HUGENESS OF THAT WHICH IS MISSING


Contact
Call the direction the eye is looking
the line of sight. There
where it grazes the surface
                  of the visibly surging
without reference to a field of human presence,
don't look away.
I haven't looked away.


The neurons spike quickly. And the catastrophe
will be consummated even to the end, to the absence of ambiguity,
a new range of feeling. Torn awake. What if
a man went into his house and leaned his hand
against the wall and the wall
                          was not?


Look how your relation to truth creates a tension
you have slackened with compromise.
                             Yes, and the more
distant it is, the more I have valued it. But to stand
where the crossing happens, as fall oaks fold
                                            into lake light, and so
wearing reflection, take a further step inside—
                                         No, the voice said, you will strike out
into a forest of pain, unpathed, wolved, clouds muffling the mountain ridge
                                            and spilling down in runnels,
blindness with confusion come to parle, at variance with,
measuring out an exile between self and self. Driven
transverse. Nevertheless you will begin to arrive, to know
                                                       from intimate impulse
the crucial experience of ... the threat of dissolution of ... but not yet.
There is something more
                        than rhythms of distance and presence,
of more quality than the set of qualities determining figure and ground
and suffering, where respite is so often
misinterpreted as a horizon.
Isn't the word for a turn of phrase
itself a turn of phrase?
                    Something was given to me as a present
and a specter was attached to me, pregnant
                                   with equivocation.
And in the throat of language,
and in early June riots of starlings,
and in some crumbs in the seam of a book,
the solid real steps out from infinitely diluted experience
saying, Tongue I gave you. Eyes.
At any point in the trajectory, the body might stop. Do you recall this part?
But who is it that is speaking
in the glorious, unstrung light?
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Table of Contents

The Hugeness of That Which Is Missing 3
Love's Letter 15
Voiced Stops 19
Love's Letter 29
The Gradual All 33
Love's Letter 43
Line of Descent 49
Love's Letter 65
Carried Across 69
Love's Letter 85
Facing in All Directions 89
Notes 95
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