Born in the Mojave Desert, Gander was raised in Virginia where he attended The College of William and Mary, majoring in geology (a subject referenced frequently in both his poems and his essays). He received an M.A. in English from San Francisco State University and moved to Mexico, where he began to assemble poems and translations for Mouth to Mouth: Poems by twelve contemporary Mexican women, a bilingual anthology. From Mexico, he moved to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he worked as a printer, and then to Providence, Rhode Island.
Gander's poetry is lyrical and often complex rhythmically and structurally. Critic Karla Huston, writing in Library Journal, notes that, "Owing to the poems' placement on the page and the near absence of punctuation, the reader is propelled through the verse, left with a sense of urgency and awe." Because of the frequency and particularity of Gander's references to the Virginia landscape, Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, calls him "a Southern poet of a relatively rare kind, a restlessly experimental writer."
The subjects of Gander's formally innovative essays range from snapping turtles to translation to literary hoaxes. His critical essays have appeared in The Nation, Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review.
In 2008, New Directions published As a Friend, Gander's novel of a gifted man, a land surveyor, whose impact on those around him provokes an atmosphere of intense self-examination and eroticism. In the New York Times Book Review, Jeanette Winterson praised As a Friend as "a strange and beautiful novel ... haunting and haunted." It needs, she wrote, "to be read slowly, to be uncovered like a secret or discovered like a treasure." It has been published in translation in Bulgarian, Spanish, French, and German editions.
Gander is a translator with a particular interest in poetry from Spain, Latin America, and Japan. Besides editing two anthologies of Mexican poetry, Gander has translated discrete volumes by Mexican poets, including "Watchword" and "No Shelter" by Pura Lopez Colome" and (PEN Translation Prize Finalist) "Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho." With Kyoko Yoshida, Gander translated "Spectacle & Pigsty: Selected Poems of Kiwao Nomura" (OmniDawn, 2011).
Gander is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, The Whiting Foundation, and the Howard Foundation.
The second book of his translations, with Kent Johnson, of Bolivian poet Jaime Saenz, "The Night" (Princeton, 2007), received a PEN Translation Award. Gander's critically acclaimed translations of the Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda are included in "The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems" (City Lights, 2004)
- Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship, 2011
- United States Artists Rockefeller Fellowship, 2008
- Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, 2008
- Howard Foundation Award, 2005
- Pen Translation Fund Award, 2004
- Pushcart Prize, 2000
- Jessica Nobel Maxwell Memorial Prize (from American Poetry Review, 1998)
- Whiting Writer’s Award, 1997
- Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative North American Poetry (1997, 1993)
- Fund for Poetry Award, 1994
- National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry (1989, 2001)
- Rush to the Lake: Poems. Cambridge, MA: Alice James Books, 1988.
- Eggplants and Lotus Root (chapbook). Providence, RI: Burning Deck, 1991.
- Lynchburg. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.
- Deeds of Utmost Kindness. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1994.
- Science & Steepleflower. New York: New Directions, 1998.
- Torn Awake. New York: New Directions, 2001.
- Twelve x 12:00 (photos & paintings by Tjibbe Hooghiemstra). Groningen, Nederlands: Philip Elders, 2003.
- The Blue Rock Collection. Cambridge, UK: Salt, 2004.
- Sound of Summer Running (photos by Raymond Meeks). Tucson, AZ: Nazraeli Press, 2005.
- Eye Against Eye. New York: New Directions, 2005.
- Core Samples from the World. New York: New Directions, 2011.
- Eiko & Koma. New York: New Directions, 2013.
- As a Friend. New York: New Directions, 2008.
- A Faithful Existence: Reading, memory and transcendence. Washington, DC: Shoemaker & Hoard, 2005.
- Redstart: An ecological poetics (John Kinsella). Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2012.
- Jaime Saenz, Immanent Visitor: Selected poems (translated with Kent Johnson). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
- Pura Lopez Colome, No Shelter: Selected poems. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf Press, 2002.
- Jaime Saenz, The Night: A poem (translated with Kent Johnson). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.
- Coral Bracho, Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected poems. New York: New Directions, 2008.
- Kiwao Nomura, Spectacle & Pigsty: Selected poems (translated with Kyoko Yoshida). Richmond, CA: OmniDawn, 2011.
- Pura Lopez Colome, Watchword. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2012.
- Alfonso D'Aquino, Fungus Skull Eye Wing: Selected poems. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2013.
- Panic Cure: Poetry from Spain for the 21st century (translated & edited). Bristol, UK: Shearsman, 2013.
- Mouth to Mouth: Poems by twelve contemporary Mexican women. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions, 1993.
- Connecting Lines: New poetry from Mexico (edited with Luis Cortez Bargallo). Louisville, KY: Sarabande Books, 2006.
- Pinholes in the Night: Essential poetry from Latin America (selected by Raul Zurita; edited by Gander). Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2014.
- "Knife on a Plate"
- Poem: Conjunctions Issue 44/Spring 2005 > Mission Thief
- Forrest Ganderprofile and 5 poems at the Academy of American Poets.
- Forrest Gander b. 1956 at the Poetry Foundation.
- Forrest Gander at PoemHunter (17 poems)
- Audio / video
- Audio: The East Village Poetry Web > Forrest Gander Reading three poems
- Forrest Gander at YouTube
- Video: Gander Reading and Lecture at U. of Chicago, 2006
- Audio: Gander reading at the Key West Literary Seminar in 2003
- Forrest Gander at Alice James Books
- Forrest Gander Official Website.
- Brown University > Comparatative Literature Faculty > Forrest Gander
- Brown University > Forrest Gander C.V. (.pdf).
- Author Bio: Jacket Magazine
- Review: Great American Pinup > Review of Eye Against Eye > By Forrest Gander
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