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A Defense of Poetry

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Gabriel Gudding's 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. ""After Yeats"" When I am old and using Revlon hair dye and am sucking up my pharmacopoeia, and can drink but Sanka - when I don't have too many friends anymore and the bathroom is a place of loneliness - Yes, when I am old and Revloned and hypnogogic and nodding at the wheel, take down this book and read of one who phoned you less and less, but who dug you and remembered your elegant hand and somewhat geeky look
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Winner of the 2001 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize.

About the Author

Gabriel Gudding is a 1998 recipient of the ""Discovery""/The Nation Award and a 2001 Constance Saltonstall Individual Artist's Grant. He is an assistant professor of creative writing at Illinois State University.


"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." - Denise Duhamel "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." - Mary Ruefle

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