Synopses & Reviews
Winner of the 2001 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Runner-up, Society of Midland Authors 2002 Poetry Prize
Gabriel Guddings poems not only defend against the pretense and vanity of war, violence, and religion, but also against the vanity of poetry itself. These poems sometimes nestle in the lowest regions of the body, and depict invective, donnybrooks, chase scenes, and the abuse of animals, as well as the indignities and bumblings of the besotted, the lustful, the annoyed, and the stupid.
In short, Gudding seeks to reclaim the lowbrow. Dangerous, edgy, and dark, this is an innovative writer unafraid to attack the unremitting high seriousness of so much poetry, laughing with his readers as he twists the elegiac lyric "I" into a pompous little clown.
“ . . . one of the freshest debuts in years, pushes the boundaries of the weird and inappropriate with intelligence and Joycean revelry in language that reminds us of modern art’s central mission, which is not console, but to provoke.”
“Gudding is happy to be silly. He’s out for fun, and his ‘A Defense of Poetry’ is a kind of spree of paradoes, burlesques and slapstick comedy. . . .This is good fun.”
"Gabriel Gudding takes parody seriously. A Defense of Poetry pastiches rambunctious riffs, scatological scats, and madcap myth. A modern day Lewis Carroll, Gudding is foremost a comic poet. His zany imagery, ear for the absurd, and wry timing make his stanzas stand up and sparkle."
"When you read these poems you will go ahh, you will go a little nuts, you will ask yourself who is this hussar who has taken a pint of silver polish and applied it to The Charge of the Light Brigade? And by the relentless bravura of his pen he will answer you, and you will be made happy, you will be made glad, you will be made blinking, for a few more flamelike strokes have been added to the ongoing genesis of American poetry."
Dangerous, edgy, and dark, Gudding offers a defense not only against the pretense and vanity of war, violence, and religion, but also against the vanity of poetry itself.
About the Author
Gabriel Gudding is a 1998 recipient of The Nation Discovery Award and a 2001 Constance Saltonstall Individual Artists Grant. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Illinois State University.