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Holdfast

by Christian Anton Gerard

PREORDER NOW! AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 15

Can we say “Cowboy” anymore? Have we waited long enough to need by now? Christian Anton Gerard’s Holdfast, his second poetry collection, is a story of dissolution and resolution, of a world made round by spokeshaves and brute imagining. The poet’s willow-hearted son sleeps in iambs; the bucket-truck mechanic plays Night Moves on a blue guitar; Spenser’s Calidore is perhaps the alcoholic riding ragged in an F-150. At its fissive core are questions of love expired, love recovered, and self-recognition: “My voice fire-pop and invitation” admits Holdfast’s speaker, “I woke a tulip field at sunrise.” Gerard shows us the pasture of that weedy, human understanding in all its lushness and courtesy. Then, like the student videographer of its opening poem, he lowers the camera and extends his hand.

 

HYPE

In this vital book Christian Anton Gerard becomes his own persona. He is Berryman’s Henry become Berryman. As he writes, “I wish Whitman’s portrait could be my self-portrait, that Whitman’s ghost is real as me.” And for this reader he most certainly is. In long and sinuous lines, Gerard pulls us deep under his skin, and the skin of poetry itself, to articulate a “Defense of Poetry” that will survive and sing to us “when we’re most hungry–something about the physics of it all.”

—Sean Thomas Dougherty, author of The Second O of Sorrow

 

Reading Holdfast, I’m reminded that an inheritance is an act of service. It’s possible to accept with grace what’s given, despite not always liking what’s received. “My Hope is open,” writes Gerard. And it’s true—Gerard’s second collection proves not even the wildness of grief can snuff the music within us, those “old glass bulbs— / their size, their weight, like an iamb’s.” Personal but never insular, what sets Holdfast apart is its exuberance. Here is a writer for whom every living thing is worth holding, whose generous and spirited poems deserve holding onto.

–Shara Lessley, Author of The Explosive Expert’s Wife

 

“I have Spencer, though,” Christian Anton Gerard writes, “his own allegory, to show me I am / my own allegory.” And what an allegory this poet brings to us. Gerard, often featured as a character in these poems, leads us on a meta-journey that converses with the poets and poetries of the distant and recent past, even as he a carves a bright new literature of and for today. Equally comfortable with Plato in his cave or Swayze in his Roadhouse, these poems—whether wrestling with alcoholism and recovery, or love and the vivid colors of the world—are always charged with wonder. Holdfast is an astonishing book. We are lucky to hold it in our hands.

–Matthew Olzmann, Author of Contradictions in the Design

 

short index by way of appreciation:

Gerard, Christian Anton
Berrymanic wit of…
Insight and thoughtfulness of…
Introspective bravery of…

Holdfast,
Cathartic sobriety of…
Compelling narratives and deft lyricism of…
Good company of speaker’s voice…
Mixtape containing Aphra Behn and PM Dawn…
Shadows burnt up staring into…

Unseen Thing in Front of Me
Screaming for it to turn…

Whitman, Walt
Gerard’s competitiveness with…
—Ed Skoog