Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara

Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara

by William Fargason


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Friday, December 3


 2020 Florida Book Award in Poetry, Gold Medal

In his debut collection, William Fargason inspects the pain of memory alongside the pain of the physical body. Fargason takes language to its limits to demonstrate how grief is given a voice. His speaker confronts illness, grapples with grief, and heals after loss in its most crushing forms. These poems attempt to make sense of trauma in a time of belligerent fathers and unacceptable answers. Fargason necessarily confronts toxic masculinity while navigating spiritual and emotional vulnerability.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781609387051
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Publication date: 04/01/2020
Series: Iowa Poetry Prize Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

William Fargason teaches creative writing at Florida State Univer­sity. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

Read an Excerpt

From “Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara”:
The silence just before and just after,
and the black eyes as you leapt—
                        no protest, no acceptance either.
You ran almost in unison,
                                  a dance without music,
           a curtain call,
and the crowd standing knowing this is what happens
once we find beauty:
                                         we must watch it leave.

Table of Contents


When My Father Calls Me a Pussy 3

Polar Bear 5

My Father Feeding the Birds 7

Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara 8

Birthmark 10

Fig Leaf 11

Floodwaters in South Carolina 13

Ash on the Tongue 14

Cain 16

Emo, 2005 19

Not an Entrance 20


Nudes 25

Carving 27

My Father's College Roommate 28

Notes on Bridge Burning 30

Sour Wine 32

Upon Receiving My Inheritance 34

Second Life 36

Watching My Father Pray over the Lord's Supper 37

Elegy with Digital Flowers 40

When My Father Tells Me My Great-Grandfather Was in the KKK 42

Sugar 44

Anchor 45


Nocturne for a Red Fox 49

Images of Kurt Cobain's Shotgun Released 50

When You Were out of Town Last Weekend 51

Nocturne with Choking in Calloway Gardens 53

Aquarium 56

Tightrope 57

Seeds as Nails 59

Porcelain Nocturne 60

Ode to the Mattress on the Side of the Interstate 61

The Day 62

There Is No Power in Blame 63


The View through My Father's Scope Is a Planet 71

Song 72

Forecast 74

Prayer 75

Worry Stone 76

Trusting the Periphery 78

Because Because 79

What We Are Given 80

Egg Tooth 82

Pygmalion 83

Snowstorm, Mid-January 84

Cartoon 85

Outpatient 86

What People are Saying About This

Brenda Shaughnessy

“Every sense engaged, each filament of intellect glowing, memory fully aflame—it’s not easy to survive such aliveness. So implies poet Fargason in this Love Song. Heights of awareness and passion and fullness are met by counterparts in depths of doubt and despair, of a past that ground down, that haunt writer and reader. This is a book of darkness and hope, of vision and rage. Reading Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara made me feel that I am not alone in the grief and fear of this world—I am part of it and it a part of me, but that also one (I, we, the poet, the reader) is integrally part of something larger: the project of life as something utterly worth living as deeply as possible, paths and pasts and pigs and pain and all.”—Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize

James Kimbrell

Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara navigates the ground between spiritual possession and emotional dispossession, between the promises of religion and the chokehold of prescribed masculinity in the duck hunting, strip-mall, suicidal South, mapping as they go our shared struggle toward intimacy, connection, sanity, and love. Laser-like focus, rich musicality, and an unflinching bravery in the face of a brutal familial and geographical history—these are the qualities that draw me to Fargason’s work and that make many of his poems so unforgettable.”—James Kimbrell, Florida State University

Elizabeth Arnold

“In Will Fargason’s first book, Love Song to the Demon-Possessed Pigs of Gadara, accelerating phrasal momentum and sharp figurative detail merge to put us in the prison made by child abuse and chronic pain. The narrow confines of such experience, its isolating effect, remind me of Elaine Scarry’s descriptions of torture. Fargason’s enactments of what’s happening to him and what has happened warp percep­tion, as when he sees a lake as ‘a window I want to roll down.’ But he can’t. He’s trapped. Entrances and exits are repeatedly inverted, mirrors mirroring mirrors. The speed of the poems and their disarmingly sudden stops keep us off-guard, push us past what we think we know. About anything—pain, death, fear, anger. These poems wake their readers up. What else is poetry for?”—Elizabeth Arnold, author, Skeleton Coast

Customer Reviews