Forrest Gander

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Forrest Gander at the 2014 Texas Book Festival, Austin Texas, United States.

Forrest Gander (born 1956) is an American poet, essayist, novelist, critic, and translator.

Born in the Mojave Desert, he grew up in Virginia and traveled intensively; he has degrees in geology, a subject referenced frequently in both his poems and essays, and in English literature. His work has been linked to ecopoetics, ecology, and intersubjectivity. A writer in multiple genres, Gander is noted for his many collaborations with other artists. He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Whiting Foundation, and the Howard Foundation. Currently, he is the Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literatures at Brown University in Rhode Island.

Writing and translation[edit]

His poetry is lyrical, but often complex rhythmically and structurally. David Kirby, writing in The New York Times Book Review notes that, "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....In the midst of such questioning, the only reality is the poet's unflinchingly curious mind."[1] Noting the frequency and particularity of Gander's references to ecology and landscape, Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, calls him "a Southern poet of a relatively rare kind, a restlessly experimental writer."[2] Gander's book Core Samples from the World was a finalist for 2012 Pulitzer Prize and the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award. The Pulitzer citation notes that Core Samples from the World is "A compelling work that explores cross-cultural tensions in the world and digs deeply to identify what is essential in human experience."[3] With Australian poet-activist John Kinsella, Gander wrote the cross-genre book Redstart: an Ecological Poetics.

The subjects of Gander's formally innovative essays range from snapping turtles to translation to literary hoaxes. His critical essays have appeared in The Nation, Boston Review, and The New York Times Book Review.

In 2008, New Directions published As a Friend, Gander's novel of a gifted man, a land surveyor, whose impact on those around him provokes an atmosphere of intense self-examination and eroticism. In The New York Times Book Review, Jeanette Winterson praised As a Friend as "a strange and beautiful novel.... haunting and haunted."[4] It needs, she wrote, "to be read slowly, to be uncovered like a secret or discovered like a treasure."[5] As a Friend has been published in translation in Bulgarian, Spanish, French, and German editions. In November 2014, New Directions released Gander's second novel The Trace, about a couple who, researching the last journey of Civil War writer Ambrose Bierce, find themselves lost in the Chihuahua Desert. Regarding this novel, The New Yorker noted that "Gander’s poetic writing lends this adventure story a dense, brooding atmosphere; Dale and Hoa’s troubles unfold slowly in this carefully crafted novel of intimacy and isolation."[6] And in The Paris Review, Robyn Creswell commented that "Gander’s landscapes are lyrical and precise ("raw gashed mountains, gnarly buttes of andesite"), and his study of a marriage on the rocks is as empathetic as it is unsparing."[7]\

Gander is a translator with a particular interest in poetry from Spain, Latin America, and Japan. Besides editing several anthologies of poetry from Spain, Mexico, and Latin America, Gander has translated distinct volumes by Mexican poets Pura López Colomé, Coral Bracho (PEN Translation Finalist for Firefly Under the Tongue), Valerie Mejer, and Alfonso D'Aquino, another poet connected with ecopoetry.[8] With Kyoko Yoshida, Gander translated Spectacle & Pigsty: Selected Poems of Kiwao Nomura (OmniDawn, 2011), winner of the 2012 Best Translated Book Award; he is currently editing a volume of selected poems of Yoshimasu Gozo. The second book of his translations, with Kent Johnson, of Bolivian poet Jaime Saenz, The Night (Princeton, 2007), received a PEN Translation Award. Gander's critically acclaimed translations of the Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda are included in The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems (City Lights, 2004).

In early 2016, Copper Canyon Press will release a bilingual edition containing Gander's translations of twenty previously unknown and unseen Neruda poems, his "lost poems."[9][10]


Exploring engagements with others in collaborations, Gander has worked with artists Ann Hamilton and Gus Van Sant, photographers Lucas Foglia, Sally Mann, Graciela Iturbide, Peter Lindbergh, Michael Flomen, and Raymond Meeks, ceramic artists Ashwini Bhat and Richard Hirsch, dancers Eiko & Koma, painter Tjibbe Hooghiemstra, glass artist Michael Rogers, musician Vic Chesnutt, and many others.

Selected publications[edit]

Poetry Collections



Collaborative Works

  • Redstart: An Ecological Poetics (University of Iowa Press, 2012)] collaboration with John Kinsella.
  • Las Canchas (Blue Star Contemporary, 2009), collaboration with photographer Daniel Borris.
  • Twelve X 12:00 (Philip Elchers, 2003), collaboration with artist Tjibbe Hooghiemstra.
  • Sound of Summer Running (Nazraeli Press, 2005), collaboration with photographer Raymond Meeks.

Essay Collections

  • A Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory and Transcendence (Counterpoint, 2005).

In Translation

  • Como Amigo. Spanish translation of As a Friend. (Sexto Piso Editorial, Mexico City & Barcelona, 2013).
  • Ligaduras. A work of selected poems in Spanish translation. (Ventana Abierta Editorial, Santiago, Chile, 2011).
  • Als es dich gab. Roman. German translation of As a Friend. (Luxbooks, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2010).
  • Libreto para eros. A work of selected poems in Spanish translation. (Amargord, Madrid, 2010).
  • En Ami. French translation of As a Friend. (Sabine Wespieser Editeur, Paris, 2010).
  • Като приятел. Bulgarian translation of As a Friend. (Altera, Sofia, Bulgaria, 2010).


Anthologies Edited

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Pulitzer Prize Finalist, 2012
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, 2011
  • Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship, 2011
  • United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, 2008
  • Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2008
  • Howard Foundation Award, 2005
  • PEN Translation Fund Grant from PEN American Center, 2004
  • Pushcart Prize, 2000
  • Jessica Nobel Maxwell Memorial Prize (from American Poetry Review, 1998)
  • Whiting Award, 1997
  • Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative North American Poetry (1997, 1993)
  • Fund for Poetry Award, 1994
  • National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry (1989, 2001)


  1. ^ Kirby, David (January 20, 2002). "Torn Awake". The New York Times Sunday Book Review. 
  2. ^ Hass, Robert (May 2, 1999). "Book World". The Washington Post. 
  3. ^ "Pulitzer Prize". 
  4. ^ Winterson, Jeanette (December 19, 2008). "A Death in Full". The New York Times Sunday Book Review. 
  5. ^ Winterson, Jeanette. "A Death in Full". The New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  6. ^ Denhoed, Andrea (November 4, 2014). "Books to Watch Out For: November". The New Yorker. 
  7. ^ Creswell, Robyn. "Staff Picks". The Paris Review. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^

External links[edit]