Reflecting on love, life and poetry


While most people in academia may view summer as a time to catch up on some housework or relax by the pool, Chris Forhan, associate professor of English, saw it as an opportunity to share an intimate period of his life with the world.
Over the summer, Forhan published his third chapbook of poetry, “Ransack and Dance.”
A chapbook is a short collection of poems. Forhan’s latest one can be purachased now on for $12.
After a Los Angeles publisher approached him to write another book of poetry, Forhan went through his writing to find 24 poems that complemented each other.
“I had a whole bunch of poems sitting around that weren’t going anywhere,” Forhan said. “So I went through them and found a bunch that felt as if they belong together, and I put them together in the book.”
Though Forhan had no intended theme for the chapbook when he created it, he soon realized that the collection of chosen poems represented a specific period in his life from 2005 to 2007.
“That was a transitional time in my life before I met my wife and had my children,” Forhan said. “I was kind of lonely and disappointed in love, and I realized looking at these poems (that) there are a lot of miserable, disillusioned, bitter love poems.”
Through writing these poems, Forhan said he believes he gained a better perspective on his life and its purpose. “They are love poems, but they are also life poems,” Forhan said. “When you have intense experiences in your life—an experience of death, an experience of utter transformation—it colors your perspective on everything, and it can be a way of making you see the larger picture of life much more clearly.” Forhan has previously published two chapbooks and three full books of poetry. He has won the Barrow Street Poetry Prize, the Bakeless Prize and two Pushcart Prizes. He was also awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in 2007
His poems have been published in a wide array of magazines, including The New England Review and the Paris Review.
“I hope if someone reads the book, he or she will feel invigorated by the language,” Forhan said, “and feel that much more a sensation of being alive and having a nervous system.”


A sample of Forhan’s work:


Spin like this, the pinwheel, aflame in air,
whistled to me. This way to the water,

the half-drowned children sang, sopped,
hauled up blue. Crows screamed, laid siege

to the seeded field. Careful, the wind was careful not to say, though I was born with a bubble

in my mouth: a harbinger, cardiac in nature.
I will not be glib about this. I gripped her fist

and kissed her. I was implicated. O
weighty world, lush, relentless: amid

your blossoming conflagrations
I understood I would not avert my heart.


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