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Rhode Island Notebook

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  77 ratings  ·  14 reviews
In this book-length notebook-slash-poem-slash-story, Gudding muses on literary narcissism, dung, and Whitman as he travels across America revealing a family breakdown and the seperation of a father and daughter, all set to the background of American jingoism in the moments before and during the invasion of Iraq.
Paperback, 436 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Dalkey Archive Press
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
415th out of 1,428 books — 1,562 voters
Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood AndersonCarolina Moon by Nora RobertsOklahoma! by Richard RodgersSouth Carolina by Walter EdgarOn the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Name of State (USA): North Carolina - South Dakota
79th out of 107 books — 17 voters


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Community Reviews

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Rae
I actually finished this one months ago, but didn't know exactly what I wanted to say about it. At times, I found this book incredibly so hard to stay with (my own mood struggling to remain independent of the book's) - but I did stay, because there's such a thrilling promise made to the reader in the form and voice of this book, that I know we'll arrive somewhere completely new at the end, or by the end. This book is one fierce piece of real life, one big block of incredibly heavy and dense time ...more
Jess
Jul 01, 2008 Jess rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fellow lovers of fountain pens; Gabe's students, Those wanting something different
This prose poem book--transcribed directly from a notebook handwritten on the road--accounts both the thoughts and cross-country journeys of the author as he travels between his daughter in Rhode Island and his home in Normal, Illinois.

This is very much Gabe in book form. He'll follow a lovely insight on family or sadness by the time and highway route or a thought on the war in Iraq or an odd thought on Nancy Raegan. Written for his daughter, it's personal and at times indulgent. How could it no
...more
Kelsey
I don't feel like there's anything I can say about this book...I think it takes a special person to get through it and appreciate it, and if you're that person, you will love it. I loved it. I particularly liked the ideas of anabasis and katabasis, the descriptions of the sky and the terrain, and the darkly funny honesty about the severing of a family. It's super real and for once I understand "drawing out" the narrative...a divorce doesn't happen overnight. This book is a slow burn and there is ...more
Nil
Sep 15, 2012 Nil rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
Fantastic notebook. And it is a notebook — don't get that wrong. There are things in here that even Gudding himself has said were so awful he'd never publish them. That's part of what makes the book interesting, though: it hides nothing. It hasn't been edited down to something containing only writing safe to his ego, but it's blatantly honest by showing his mind over the course of his drives between work and visiting his daughter.

Overall, it's an interesting look into a poet's mind.
Aaron Furmanek
When we drive, we have time. Often while we go places it is easy to forget that we have time to think, see, worry, and experience the distance between us and our destination. Rhode Island Notebook is a study in what happens when we are alone in a car with only our destination ahead of us. The book reflects on the experience of fatherhood, divorce, and the changing tide of the national psyche, all observed on repeated trips between Illinois and Rhode Island.
Jeff T.
Nov 05, 2009 Jeff T. is currently reading it
If this entire book is as good as the first 32 pages (or doesn't get old), it will be one of my new favorites. The footnote essay on p. 14&15 is a fantastic commentary on Gudding's first book, A Defense of Poetry, and is itself a defense of poetry, and has me thinking about "comic destruction."
Carl
reading this now. its the "jimmy corrigan" of poetry: hilarious and devastating.
Meredith
Staggering. A near-perfect approximation of the road and its velocities, the heart and its climates. The antidote to a post-Sebald longing for something to set me ablaze.
Leslie
This book was thrilling for 120 or so pages, and then the drift set in. On hold for now, but too good not to return to once the drift has passed!
Rusty
What a great book--a book-length poem of multiple road trips and the fragmentative (is that a word) thoughts that occur along the way.
Matt
for what its worth, a candid response to the road, though dangerous in scope.
Jac
Oh man. If all poetry read like this it wouldn't be so marginalized.
Adam
I think this is important right now.
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