In this strongly visual and environmentally engaged collection, award-winning poet and translator Jody Gladding explores landscape as a source of language in lyrics that operate as physical acts in three-dimensional space.
Composed and printed in a landscape format, these minimal, quiet, playful, meditative, and open-ended poems are experimental in form and inviting in subject. Drawing inspiration from poets like A. R. Ammons, Lorine Niedecker, Gustaf Sobin, and Jean Valentine, and visual artists like Ann Hamilton, Roni Horn, and Cecilia Vicuña, Gladding discovers exciting spatial possibilities within the page itself by exploiting white space and varying typefaces. As the page opens into the compositional field that Mallarmé, Ponge, and others conceived it to be, words constellate around bolded through lines to offer multiple, interwoven meanings, interacting with each other and the reader, who moves freely among them, to make poems that are spatial, nonlinear, and different with each reading. And, adding yet another dimension to the collection, many of the poems have facing-page French versions.
“Landscape-oriented” in every sense, I entered without words is an ambitious, innovative, and striking collection by a major poet.
Jody Gladding is a poet and translator who has published four previous collections of poetry. Her awards include MacDowell and Stegner fellowships, the French-American Foundation Translation Prize, the Whiting Award, and the Yale Younger Poets Prize. She lives in East Calais, Vermont.
"A delicate and dynamic work, one that reaches toward a painterly simultaneity. One can, as the title suggests, enter the poems without words, only to find fields of them scattered across the pages, in spacious formations, at times rippling or craggy, ready to be combined and recombined."—Heather Green, Poetry Foundation
"Formally innovative. . . . [An] impressionistic, lyric work with an experimental edge."—Publishers Weekly
"[An] intriguing new collection. . . . Readers with a taste for experimental poetry will be delighted."—Seven Days
"An exciting odyssey through . . . three-dimensional pages, where sparse words make up what looks like gravitational fields."—Susan McCabe, Los Angeles Review of Books
“This liberating suite of poems staggers, bends, sways, and challenges the associating eye as we recombine and reanimate the different textures of play and word. One enters without them, those words, but goes out with them and their sources, echoing with newly discovered layered eloquence.”—Anne Waldman, author of Trickster Feminism (Penguin Poets)
“The spaciousness of I entered without words invites the reader to enter the act of composition, to meander, to make our own unique path. In each reading is a new animation of poem and page, as our eyes chart new ways to stitch the words into relation, up and down, across and back. We may enter without words, but the words find us.”—Ann Hamilton, visual artist
“Jody Gladding’s new book I entered without words conveys moving, rippling presence with every cartesianly-placed word and line. Her shimmering, electrifying meditation on nature, humanity, and language underscores the page’s aptitude as a three-dimensional medium for supple poetry and deep feeling.”—Tracie Morris, author of human/nature poems