Yale Working Group in Contemporary Poetry

Forrest Gander

Posted in Uncategorized by wgcp on May 16, 2009

On Friday, Feb 20, the poet/translator/novelist Forrest Gander joined our group to discuss his work, particularly his most recent collection of poems, Eye against Eye, and his collection of poetics essays, Faithful Existence.

We began with a conversation about how Gander sees his upbringing in the South (he grew up in Virginia) as influencing how work. He is often contextualized in terms of the South and the fact that in Eye against Eye he collaborates with Sally Mann, the eminent photographer whose landscape photographs of the Virginian landscape in quintessential ways, only underlines his connection to that region. Rather than feeling a cultural connection to a Southern tradition, Gander sees the physical geography of that place begin an enduring influence. He suggested that different landscapes facilitate different rhythms of perception. The overgrown landscape of Virginia, particularly in its representations by Sally Mann, means that in rural areas people walk a great deal and in walking through such terrain, one develops a slowed, staggered relationship to the physical environment.

A complete and detailed account of this meeting is available: WGCP Meeting Minutes, Forrest Gander.

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