Torn Awake, New Directions Publishers, and Arrancado del SueƱo, Tucan de Virginia


“It isn’t long before the ethereal quality of these poems begins to remind you of similar effects in the work of T. S. Eliot and the 17th century Anglo-Welsh mystic Henry Vaughan . . . . The voices vary throughout this book’s six highly speculative sequences . . . yet again and again they call from their spectral airiness a single recurring image, an elemental configuration of man, woman and child. Indeed the book ends with a consideration of just such a threesome frozen forever in the aftermath of an earthquake on ancient Cyprus, with the speaker proposing that such a piteous sight can be taken as either a story with no meaning or a meaning beyond story. In the midst of such questioning, the only reality is the poet’s unflinchingly curious mind.”
-David Kirby,
The New York Times Book Review


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Read Reviews Here

The New York Times Book Review
Book Forum
First Intensity
Boston Review
Rain Taxi


“Forrest Gander is insistently, often gorgeously, a poet of space—the spaces of landscape and geology, the spaces of erotic and patrilineal bodies, and the spaces among and inside the words on the page of a poem . . . . If Gander’s philosophical strain and flamboyant lingo suggest Wallace Stevens, and his conversance with science and his stress on the “ongoing” recall A. R. Ammons, he insinuates a knotty, digressive intensity that is fully his own.”
-Robert Polito,
Book Forum

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“Gander is a poet of tremendous richness: his lines are not only sharp, they radiate another essential ingredient of poetry: play. They have that wonderful energy of dance . . . . Gander excels at line breaks: the intense particularity of his images break at just the precise point where they register as images. He adds more tension by sequencing the lines in step-down patterns, giving added drama to their elaboration in the manner of a stage director orchestrating a mise en scene.”
-John Olson,
First Intensity

“Fatherhood and family life lie at the center of this book, and this subject matter helps to preserve the appeal of Gander’s torquing language. Torn Awake memorializes the ‘voluptuous/ Acoustics of home” . . . . [The overall] structure gives the volume a rhythm of expansion and contraction, and it balances the disjunctions of the longer sequences with the poignancy of lyric apostrophe . . . . Read him because he marshals a sinewy and strenuous language for familial, sensory, and erotic experience.”
-B.K. Fischer, Boston Review

“Love of the physical world and an attendant desire to crack open its untranslatable nature has long been at the core of Forrest Gander’s poetic investigations. Torn Awake . . . continues this devotion with an Orphean passion that verges on heartbreak. What genuine love requires of us is, as Gander illuminates, nothing short of “an exile between self and self” and Torn Awake records a perpetual struggle to brave this cast-out condition: to sustain an existence without the protection of “the tactual amnion of habit” . . . . Torn Awake speaks to its readers with the intimacy of the lover speaking to the beloved.”
-Kim Fortier,
Rain Taxi