In the Gorge
by Brandon Krieg
Codhill Poetry Award Winner 2016
In Brandon Krieg’s stunning collection In the Gorge, we are placed on a tightrope, balancing the leisure of Western society against the survival of the natural world. Here, nature and human lunge and parry, conjoined twins in a struggle to the death. Krieg reminds us that our manufactured beauty is part of the planet-wide tableau—“looking down from an overpass / looking up through the canopy / the contrails the sunset / are not different things.” Part pastoral, part elegy for our future on Earth, In the Gorge urges us to believe in mercy, in redemption, and the dire need for entwining ourselves with the natural world. This is a phenomenal work.
—Glenn Shaheen, author of Energy Corridor
Cornfields, jet trails and power lines, fences, abandoned mines and greenhouses—human delineations mar but do not yet overpower the nonhuman landscapes in Brandon Krieg’s stark, unerring and beautiful poems that, over and over, seek “to find the way back // to this day among days.” Krieg’s voice is watchfully tender, attentive to nature and to our moment in it, ever aware that even as we leave our signatures after us, so does fireweed. In this lovely ecopoetry, Krieg achieves a “good fearfulness” and even a joy that is no more or less elemental than rain.
—Nancy Eimers, author of Oz
Intelligence at its vastest stretches to a scarcest cry, and is ours, and not: you’ll hear it amply in the haunted, restless, dead-on lively poetry to be found in Brandon Krieg’s In the Gorge, a collection that finds its author deep in it, the sorrow and the joy, and the clarities that in this poetry have a luminosity all their own, because they have been seen, because they have themselves seen through us. I marvel at the heights of technique: free verse rising out of necessity to new necessities, new flashes and new spells. Even more considerable here is the marvel of the voice as it propounds resilient—tested, lived—ways into lyric sympathies and a compassion free of attachment, taking up dwelling there, gazing across.
—William Olsen, author of TechnoRage
Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives, a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and a chapbook,
Source to Mouth. His poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and West Branch. He is an assistant professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.