WWBA 2021 Poet-in-Residence Forrest Gander: Virtual Master Class and Evening Poetry Reading
“Gander’s [poems] plunge and swoop up and down the whole scale of earthy, earthly, cerebral, and celestial experience. The ride is for the most part thrilling.” —The Boston Book Review
Forrest Gander’s most recent title, Twice Alive (2021), addresses the exigencies of our historical moment and the intimacies, personal and environmental, that bind us to others and to the world. Gander’s collection Be With (2018) won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award. The Pulitzer Prize Judges citation calls it, “A collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.” The New Yorker reflects on this book: “Be With is a blurted command welling up from yearnings not quite expressible in language.” Gander’s partner of more than thirty years, the poet C. D. Wright, died unexpectedly in her sleep in 2016. Later that year, a new volume by Wright, ShallCross, was published posthumously, with a dedication to Gander: “for Forrest / line, lank and long, / be with.” Gander borrows his title from that dedication, which reads like a message from beyond the grave. This collection of elegies confirms receipt of the message and returns it. Poetry often creates a supernatural-seeming rapport with the dead, but rarely has the communication between worlds felt so eerily reciprocal. In Be With, he is at once adamant about the ineffability of grief and committed to getting his inchoate “’grief-sounds’ somehow into words.”
In 2008, Gander was named a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, one of 50 artists to be recognized for artistic excellence, unique artistic vision, and significant contributions to their fields. Gander is also the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, Whiting, and United States Artists Foundations. He has been a Library of Congress/Witter Bynner fellow and a finalist for the Pulitzer and National Book Critics Circle awards. He is a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets and an elected member of The Academy of Arts & Sciences.
Gander was a Briggs-Copeland Poet at Harvard University before becoming the A.K. Seaver Professor of Literary Arts & Comparative Literature at Brown University where he taught with his wife, the poet C.D. Wright, for more than twenty years. He lives and works now in Petaluma, California.https://www.forrestgander.com/
This event is made possible with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and is administered by The Huntington Arts Council, Inc.