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A Defense of Poetry
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, an ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published September 25th 2002 by University of Pittsburgh Press
(first published January 1st 2002)
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Oh Gabe, reading this collection was like being in workshop all over again, both of which were just magical. The underlying defense against the vanity, the seriousness, and pomposity of the lyric "I", all jumbled into a reclamation that had me laughing out loud. This collection is a delight, and even better if you imagine him reading it. If you're in the need for a laugh, and some poems about butts, this is the ticket.
There is an imaginative, vibrant energy in this poem. But unlike some books, which seem interested only in bathing themselves in the fact that the imagination exists, it feels to me that Gudding makes it relevant. And that relevance comes through a strong narrative suddenly exploding with an image that delights in its improbability.
A great collection. The title poem is a pretty amazing insult piece, and there are many other gems. Most of the poems straddle the space between poignant and ridiculous, and sometimes they swerve too far towards the ridiculous, but for me the ridiculousness is often its own reward.