Be With

Longlist, National Book Awards 2018 for Poetry

Be With by Forrest Gander book cover
ISBN 9780811226059
New Directions
Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. Trenchant periods of his life were spent in San Francisco; Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico; and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. With degrees in both geology and English literature, Gander is the author and translator of numerous books of poetry, fiction, and essays. (Photo credit: New Directions) More about this author >

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Drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section—a moving transcription of Gander’s efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer’s—rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation. Gander has been
called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, “the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane.”