Biography of Forrest Hamer
Forrest Hamer is an American poet, psychologist, and psychoanalyst. He is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Rift (Four Way Books, 2007). His first collection, Call & Response, (Alice James Books) won the Beatrice Hawley Award, and his second, Middle Ear (Roundhouse Press), received the Northern California Book Award. He has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the California Arts Council, and he has taught at the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops.
His poetry has been anthologized in Poet’s Choice: Poems for Everyday Life, The Geography of Home: California’s Poetry of Place, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Blues Poems, Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, and three editions of The Best American Poetry; and has appeared in many magazines and literary journals including The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kenyon Review, Callaloo, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, TriQuarterly, and ZYZZYVA. He was educated at Yale University and the University of California - Berkeley. He lives in Oakland, California.
Forrest Hamer's Works:
Rift. Four Way Books. 2007. ISBN 9781884800757.
Middle Ear (Roundhouse, 2000)
Call and Response (Alice James Books, 1995)
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Forrest Hamer Poems
It was 1963 or 4, summer, and my father was driving our family from Ft. Hood to North Carolina in our 56 Buick. We'd been hearing about Klan attacks, and we knew
This air is flooded with her. I am a boy again, and my mother and I lie on wet grass, laughing. She startles, turns to marigolds at my side, saying beautiful, and I can see the red there is in them.
A Poem Also About The Unconscious
To make it back home across town, we had to learn to walk only through black neighborhoods. Think about this as the map
A Dull Sound, Varying Now And Again
And then we began eating corn starch, chalk chewed wet into sirup. We pilfered Argo boxes stored away to stiffen my white dress shirt, and my cousin
After I stumbled through the gauntlet, after they had hit me As hard as they could, Some there only because there was someone else To be brought in, I joined them
A Poem Also About Duplicity
It would be unfortunate if the idea of multiple selves obscured the fact the self is still responsible for the terror it makes in the mind. It would be a mistake if the multiple meanings
And the old men, supervising grown grandsons, nephews, any man a boy given this chance of making a new sidewalk outside the apartment building where some of them live, three old men and their wives,
After I stumbled through the gauntlet, after they had hit me
As hard as they could,
Some there only because there was someone else
To be brought in, I joined them
In greeting the new ones, the frightened and longing ones,
And I punched as hard and as much as I could, something
Filling in me I would tell you was a thrill
Only because I had no better word for it.
There was another word for it: violence