Pulitzer Prize winning poet Forrest Gander responds to the provocative photographs of Jack Shear.The elements are timeless and fundamental—a male nude and a piece of black linen—and the photographic results are miraculous. Within Knot are twenty-three lush black and white photographs of a body and cloth performing a provocative ballet, a wrestling match, a tense sequence of appearances and disappearances that immediately take on symbolic weight. When poet Forrest Gander first encountered these images, he asked Jack Shear for more. As Gander recalls, the photographs arrived “dreamy, violent, mythic, and elemental… I set them up around the room and knew I wanted to write my way into them.” The result is a profound dialogue between word and image, observation and inspiration, imagination and intellect. “What do you see?” one poem asks. "A divinity wrung from a black cloud."
“A collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.”—Pulitzer judges’ statement
“To write about profound loss, you step inside a genre, elegy, that is full of haunting echoes. … After Wright’s death, Gander’s memories revolve around objects, landscapes, work, and routines—symbols that become nearly sentient in their embodiment of his pain….The book as a whole [is] a self-suturing wound, equal parts bridge and void.”—The New Yorker
“In these poems, Gander’s visionary powers and inventive forms are on full display.”—San Francisco Chronicle, Best Books of 2018
“Life, death, and every minor phenomenon in between feels more vivid in Gander’s heartbreaking work.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“In poems that are utterly naked and bereft, elegies, apologies, could-have-beens, Gander grieves and wonders about what's left in his life.”—National Public Radio
“One of the things most alive in contemporary poetry is a sense that even as the ecological ship goes down, we might record the catastrophe, might leave a record of it, and of our witnessing ourselves witnessing what we’ve done to ourselves…. And Forrest Gander, as much as any poet alive, is the poet of our present, environmentally conscious grief.”—McSweeney’s