Forrest Gander

(1956 / Mojave Desert / United States)

Biography of Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander poet

Forrest Gander (born 1956) is an American poet, essayist, novelist, critic, and translator.
Born in the Mojave Desert, he grew up in Virginia and has degrees in geology, a subject referenced frequently in both his poems and essays, and English literature. He spent significant periods in San Francisco, California, Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, before moving to Providence, Rhode Island. A writer in multiple genres, Gander is noted for his collaborations with photographers such as Sally Mann and Graciela Iturbide and with the dancers Eiko & Koma. He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Whiting Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. He is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literatures at Brown University in Rhode Island.
His poetry is lyrical and often complex rhythmically and structurally. Critic Karla Huston, writing in "Library Journal," notes that, "Owing to the poems' placement on the page and the near absence of punctuation, the reader is propelled through the verse, left with a sense of urgency and awe." Noting the frequency and particularity of Gander's references to ecology and landscape, Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, calls him "a Southern poet of a relatively rare kind, a restlessly experimental writer." Gander's book Core Samples from the World was a finalist for 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. The Pulitzer citation notes that Core Samples from the World is "A compelling work that explores cross-cultural tensions in the world and digs deeply to identify what is essential in human experience."
The subjects of Gander's formally innovative essays range from snapping turtles to translation to literary hoaxes. His critical essays have appeared in The Nation, Boston Review, and The New York Times Book Review.
In 2008, New Directions published As a Friend, Gander's novel of a gifted man, a land surveyor, whose impact on those around him provokes an atmosphere of intense self-examination and eroticism. In The New York Times Book Review, Jeanette Winterson praised As a Friend as "a strange and beautiful novel.... haunting and haunted." It needs, she wrote, "to be read slowly, to be uncovered like a secret or discovered like a treasure." It has been published in translation in Bulgarian, Spanish, French, and German editions.
Gander is a translator with a particular interest in poetry from Spain, Latin America, and Japan. Besides editing two anthologies of Mexican poetry, Gander has translated discrete volumes by Mexican poets Pura López Colomé, Coral Bracho (PEN Translation Finalist for "Firefly Under the Tongue"), and [3] Alfonso D'Aquino. With Kyoko Yoshida, Gander translated Spectacle & Pigsty: Selected Poems of Kiwao Nomura (OmniDawn, 2011), winner of the 2012 Best Translated Book Award. The second book of his translations, with Kent Johnson, of Bolivian poet Jaime Saenz, The Night (Princeton, 2007), received a PEN Translation Award. Gander's critically acclaimed translations of the Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda are included in The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights, 2004)

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Bridge & Swimmer

Our eye goes past the hieroglyphic tree to the swimmer
carving a wake in the water. And almost to the railroad bridge
from which the swimmer might have dived. Then, as though
come to the end of its tether,
our gaze returns, pulling toward the blemish
on the surface of the print. An L-shaped chemical dribble,
it sabotages the scene's transparence
and siphons off its easy appeal.
At the same time, the blemish

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