Forrest Gander

Forrest Gander photograph courtesy Blue Flower Arts

Forrest Gander is a writer, translator, and editor of several anthologies of writing from Spain and Mexico. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Twice AliveBe With, which was longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award; and Core Samples from the World, a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include two novels, As A Friend and The Trace; the poetry collections Be WithEye Against EyeTorn AwakeScience & Steepleflower; and the essay collection Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, United States Artists, and Whiting Foundations.



As if iteration
might introduce us
to a sensation
not limited to sameness.
Which is when
the branchiomandibular
muscles contract
forcing forward the hyoid bones
in their sheath so
the woodpecker’s
long tongue, forked
at the base of its throat and
wrapped over the top of its head
and around the eye socket,
squirts through the drill hole
into a gallery of
insects within
the dead cactus.

* * *

You have the eyes of —.
I was speaking to the bird on the low branch.
De donde viene?

Grace’s warbler—he’s little
but he pishes-in real well.

Had I just translated Siento que mi fatiga se fatiga as
My get up and go done got up and gone?
Something my mother used to say.
Then fell asleep for twenty minutes on a bench
in the zócalo and woke refreshed. As
though a door had been left open
from last night’s bad sleep
and it was sufficient to return only
long enough to close it.

Came-to with a memory of lying
in your lap as you stroked my ears.
Bewilderingly sexual.

Grackle ruckus covers bootblack brush, organ
grinder cuts grackle ruckus.


—from Core Samples from the World

Excerpt courtesy Blue Flower Arts