~ Poet: Forrest Gander ~

Immigrant Sea by Forrest Gander

A friend lent me a copy of Forrest Gander’s 2021 collection Twice Alive: An Ecology of Intimacies, and in a moment of pure serendipity last Wednesday, skimming the acknowledgements, I see a mention of poetry films, so I go to Vimeo and find this video at the top of my feed, uploaded just a few hours earlier! I’ve been following Gander’s videopoetry for years, during which time his reputation as a page poet has skyrocketed, to the point where I think it’s fair to say he’s the most prominent American poet regularly making his own poetry films. And his videopoems have grown stronger as well (though you may have to take my word for this, as his earlier films have gone missing). His choice of images used to feel a bit arbitrary at times, but I don’t get that feeling from any of his recent films, which now feel as necessary and urgent as the texts on their own.

You can read the text of the poem in Harper’s (if you haven’t already hit their paywalled limit).

The Hugeness of That Which is Missing by Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander‘s latest collection Be With has just won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry — congratulations to him. As someone who shares his interests in Latin American poetry and ecopoetry, I’ve been cheered by his growing prominence in recent years. Not to mention the fact that he’s one of the very few major American poets who makes his own videopoems. Here’s one he re-edited just a few weeks ago. (I think the original video appeared around 2012.) The text appears in his 2001 collection Torn Awake.

Paleoacoustics by Forrest Gander

http://vimeo.com/57158868

Forrest Gander‘s description at Vimeo reads: “This video is about Paleoacoustics, traces of the past in the present, poetry, imagination.”

A Border History by Forrest Gander

http://vimeo.com/39203191

Poem, music and film are all by Forrest Gander.

When Nights Were Dark by Forrest Gander

https://vimeo.com/22523543

It’s great to see a writer of Forrest Gander’s stature making his own videopoems. (So many don’t even bother to put up websites.)

Gander’s poetry can be challenging, but the images in this video tempt me to listen more than once, and I think also encourage receptivity through visual suggestion. Incidentally, there are lots of rock canyons like this scattered around the Appalachians — mossy, fern-draped, secret places — if you know where to look.