Cover image for Torn awake
Torn awake
Gander, Forrest, 1956-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New Directions, 2001.
Physical Description:
95 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"A New Directions paperbook original; NDP926.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.A47 T6 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In his new collection Torn Awake, Gander continues to blend passion with intelligence, unveiling the forces of physical nature and personhood, the self as a construction of reciprocally reflective relations. Proposing models of hybridity, each of the book's major sequences develops a unique subject, rhythm, and form. Bringing to light the molten potential at the core of personality, the poems illuminate ways that language, as history read by anthropologists, discourse between lovers, gestures between parent and child, graffiti in temples, or even language as an event in itself (the very experience of words at play), incarnates presence. Addressing father and son relationships, and venerating erotic love, Gander's poems surge with vitality: the energy of active discovery.

Author Notes

Forrest Gander was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up in Virginia. In addition to writing poetry, he has translated works by Coral Bracho, Alfonso D'Aquino, Pura Lopez-Colome, Pablo Neruda, and Jaime Saenz. The recipient of grants from the Library of Congress, the Guggenheim, Howard, Whiting, and United States Artists Foundations, he taught for many years as the AK Seaver Professor of Literary Arts & Comparative Literature at Brown University.



Chapter One THE HUGENESS OF THAT WHICH IS MISSING Contact Call the direction the eye is looking the line of sight. There where it grazes the surface                   of the visibly surging without reference to a field of human presence, don't look away. I haven't looked away. The neurons spike quickly. And the catastrophe will be consummated even to the end, to the absence of ambiguity, a new range of feeling. Torn awake. What if a man went into his house and leaned his hand against the wall and the wall                           was not? Look how your relation to truth creates a tension you have slackened with compromise.                              Yes, and the more distant it is, the more I have valued it. But to stand where the crossing happens, as fall oaks fold                                             into lake light, and so wearing reflection, take a further step inside--                                          No, the voice said, you will strike out into a forest of pain, unpathed, wolved, clouds muffling the mountain ridge                                             and spilling down in runnels, blindness with confusion come to parle, at variance with, measuring out an exile between self and self. Driven transverse. Nevertheless you will begin to arrive, to know                                                        from intimate impulse the crucial experience of ... the threat of dissolution of ... but not yet. There is something more                         than rhythms of distance and presence, of more quality than the set of qualities determining figure and ground and suffering, where respite is so often misinterpreted as a horizon. Isn't the word for a turn of phrase itself a turn of phrase?                     Something was given to me as a present and a specter was attached to me, pregnant                                    with equivocation. And in the throat of language, and in early June riots of starlings, and in some crumbs in the seam of a book, the solid real steps out from infinitely diluted experience saying, Tongue I gave you. Eyes . At any point in the trajectory, the body might stop. Do you recall this part? But who is it that is speaking in the glorious, unstrung light? Copyright © 2001 Forrest Gander. All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

1 The Hugeness of That Which Is Missingp. 3
Love's Letterp. 15
2 Voiced Stopsp. 19
Love's Letterp. 29
3 The Gradual Allp. 33
Love's Letterp. 43
4 Line of Descentp. 49
Love's Letterp. 65
5 Carried Acrossp. 69
Love's Letterp. 85
6 Facing in All Directionsp. 89
Notesp. 95