Forrest Gander

Pulitzer Prize Finalist, National Book Critics Circle Finalist

Reviewed by Tom D'Evelyn for The Providence Journal

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Recent books by Forrest Gander, Charles DeNiord and Mark Bauer reveal how local poets are pushing verse into the sphere of the iconic, where the reader is included in the poet's gaze. Of the three, the most obviously experimental is Forrest Gander. Eye Against Eye contains imagery from several parts of the world, including "rainwater / clotted with motor oil, dog feces, brake-lining residue . . . spilling into Narragansett Bay . . ." Some of Gander's best lines jump like flame: "Through upwelling surges of spontaneity and contingency / menaced by disorder to arrive at a rhythm / the slang naked feelings . . ." One of the poems paired with photographs by Sally Mann, "The Broken Tower," ends on this iconic note: "Meanwhile, saturated by the density / of light, the tower and trees blend / into a compassion / where all the sight lines meet."