A parade of characters and voices, these poems stumble along the playful and pained pathways of our days. This is a book of honest feeling. This book believes in the sacred exchange of a smile. Father, Child, Water wants to make you laugh, wants to surprise you with sorrow, and certainly wants to remind you that you are alive.
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Gary Dop poet, performer, and playwright lives in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where he is an English professor at Randolph College. Dop received his MFA from the University of Nebraska, and his writing, which has been published throughout the country in magazines such as Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Agni, and New Letters, has been recognized with a Pushcart Prize Special Mention and the 2013 Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize.
In Father, Child, Water, Gary Dop uses plain speech and strong, clear imagery to create musical poems full of insight, love, tenderness, and humor too. This well-wrought, intensely human book will delight people who don’t get” poetry, as well as those who do.”
Charles Harper Webb
Gary Dop’s remarkable first collection is the work of a mature poet who can make you laugh and break your heart sometimes simultaneously. As wide-ranging as his tone are his subject matter, from theology to pizza delivery; and his style, from richly lyric to hilariously satiric. In the many persona poems, he shows a Dickensian knack for characterization and a stand-up’s sense of timing. With Father, Child, Water, Gary Dop’s become a player.”
In one of many watershed moments in this vibrant collection, poet Gary Dop writes, The world / will unravel, and I’ll wonder what my hands / search for in the darkness.” Throughout Father, Child, Water, innocence repeatedly faces off with the terrifying yet clarifying bite of experience and knowledge within the serenely green-filled plains of a deceptively Edenic Midwest. Like a spoiler come to destroy the church’s summer potluck, the institutions of fathering (national, religious, familial) are compassionately questioned here, as Dop navigates patriarchal inheritances of violence and war, while defining his own role as a nurturing father one seeking to protect and empower his own daughters from the brutal codes of obligatory masculinity. This nuanced book balances these resonant poems of fierce terror and love with deft comedy and delightful wit including monologues in the voices of trickster savants who are not only heartbreaking in their damaged innocence, but hilariously and uncannily shrewd in their cultural critique.”
Lee Ann Roripaugh
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