Poetry. In his most autobiographically transparent (and most comical) collection to date, Waldrep explores the intersections between body and spirit, faith and action. These are lyrics of incarnation, of method and meat-hood, of illness and the vicissitudes of love, earthly as well as heavenly, occupying the space between desire and gratification, between pain and praise.
"How can a poet in the 21st century still speak in tongues? How can a poet—in any century—NOT do just that? Here is my evidence: G.C. Waldrep is a poet interested in wooing the reader with the very hum of his words. But what are words for such a poet? What happens to our words when bees disappear and 'we are the smoke, we are only the smoke'? What happens to speech when our friends die? At that brink, at his friend's funeral, Waldrep finds 'a verb of motion, the map / in which the body is wrapped.' This is devastating, yes, but also revealing. Revealing of what? Of another—altogether more magical—direction our speech can take. When his own grave illness finds him, what does Waldrep see? 'My breath was a glass / inside of which a single blossom hangs.' This is a book of visions, one that gives us a sound heard in extremity 'a poverty of music unstrung from the body…with a sailor's knife.' This is a last moment, when no story we pretend to tell of ourselves ever will suffice. Only the lyric will, its belling of a spell. I love Waldrep's work."—Ilya Kaminsky
G.C. Waldrep is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry, most recently THE EARLIEST WITNESSES (Tupelo Press, 2021), FEAST GENTLY (Tupelo Press, 2018), which won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the long poem Testament (BOA Editions, 2015). Waldrep's work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Paris Review, APR, New England Review, New American Writing, Harper's, Tin House, Verse, and many other journals in the USA and abroad, as well as twice in The Best American Poetry and in the second edition of Norton's Postmodern American Poetry. He has received prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets as well as the Colorado Prize, the Dorset Prize, the Campbell Corner Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Writing, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pa., where he teaches at Bucknell University and edits the journal West Branch.
Author City: LEWISBURG, PA USA