FIRST BOOK: Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella
Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella traces the relationship between Wilmot and Stella using a blend of narrative and lyric modes. As Wilmot makes collect call after collect call to the life he used to live, he’s forced not only to face himself, but also the tradition of narrative dialogic lovers’ sequences as he comes to identify as both a person in the world and a piece of poetry.
“Chronology be damned. Say the most notorious libertine of Restoration England places a phone call to the reigning mistress of Petrarchan address a century earlier. Say she’s his long-suffering wife. Does she accept the charges? You’d better hope so; you’ll miss a world of exorbitant fun if she does not. These poems are as gorgeous a romp as wit and irreverence and masterful craft can make. A jazz musician’s timing, imagination hungry as the ocean and, behind the alter egos and their buffetings, a mind of tempered kindness and a heart for grown-up love. This is a ravishing debut.”
—Linda Gregerson, author of The Selvage (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) and Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007)
“Funny, absurd, rollicking, whimsically allusive and sophisticated, Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella is a requited version of Astrophil & Stella and in its literary and cultural mash-ups and marital misprisions is something like The Honeymooners meets The Courtier.”
—Michael Collier, author of An Individual History (W.W. Norton & Company, 2012) and The Ledge (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002)
“Christian Anton Gerard’s debut collection enacts the obsessive psychological scaffolding of Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella—though not the sonnet sequence’s form—in these slyly post-confessional lyrics that dramatize the troubled love of the personae Wilmot and Stella. Gerard’s self-reflexive “he said/she said” dialogic structure frames the bracing self-interrogations of Wilmot, haunted variously by his marital infidelity, paternal legacies, and vexing adolescence. Between Wilmot and Stella, and within Gerard’s fraught and intimate poems, the ‘Ghosts keep us moving.’”
—Anna Journey, author of Vulgar Remedies (LSU Press, 2013) and If Birds Gather Your Hair For Nesting (University of Georgia Press, 2009)
“…In Wilmot Here, Collect for Stella Gerard applies both the tradition and the ethos of this time, these poets, to the twenty-first-century constructs of love, sex, desire. And, much in line with our predecessors, Gerard finds his verse—and the narrative therein—at the mercy of an implacable paradox: mystery stokes desire, but intimacy pursues knowledge, extinguishes mystery. Two lovers, husband and wife, Wilmot and Stella, give themselves full force to the efforts of love; they are sometimes hopeful, sometimes dejected, but mostly their struggle takes place in the liminal, ambiguous space of both…” >>Read more.