In the Gorge


By Brandon Krieg

Subjects: Poetry, Environmental Studies
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781930337930, 84 pages, June 2017

Table of contents

Part I

On the Missouri after Election Day
Last Plague
Lapse in Autumn
Acorn and Bead
Water Music
The Monitor
The Great Offscreen
On the radio I heard this storm
Dusk Fugue
Temporary Dwelling
As Continents Slid

Part II

The Removes
More Soon
Lapse in Spring
In the Gorge
Notes from the Anthropocene
Inherit the Earth
Winter Night
Mirror to Mirror
Evening Bell
Temple Builders’ Lament
Late August Aubade

Part III

On Not Reaching the Summit
Hammer Sect
Kings Mountain
What Good
The Oak-Whale
Dogged Today
Barking at the Tide
Biking to Haven
Receiver (II)
Beyond the Useful Life

About the Author

Poems that contemplate the fraught interdependence of the human and more-than-human in an era of extreme environmental degradation.


In the Gorge aspires to full emotional and intellectual recognition of our fraught interdependence with more-than-human ecosystems. The collection also examines the impact of environmental degradation on human relationships, particularly on those of people attempting to create shared meaning beyond that offered by the dominant consumer paradigm. In the Gorge is keen to evoke the ecology of cities and other human-managed spaces, in order to encourage care of the natural world where our impact is greatest, and to combat the harmful myth that nature is over there, in wilderness areas where no humans live. The collection is at pains to navigate the territory between naive nature worship and apocalyptic skepticism, in order to be fully present to what we have done to the Earth and realistic about what attention to the Earth can do for us politically, psychologically, and spiritually.

Brandon Krieg is the author of Invasives, a finalist for the 2015 ASLE Book Award in Environmental Creative Writing, and a chapbook, Source to Mouth. His poems have appeared in The Antioch Review, Crazyhorse, FIELD, The Iowa Review, and West Branch. He is an assistant professor of English at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.


"In Brandon Krieg's stunning collection In the Gorge, we are placed on a tightrope, balancing the leisure of Western society against the survival of the natural world. Here, nature and human lunge and parry, conjoined twins in a struggle to the death. Krieg reminds us that our manufactured beauty is part of the planet-wide tableau—'looking down from an overpass / looking up through the canopy / the contrails the sunset / are not different things. ' Part pastoral, part elegy for our future on Earth, In the Gorge urges us to believe in mercy, in redemption, and the dire need for entwining ourselves with the natural world. This is a phenomenal work. " — Glenn Shaheen, author of Energy Corridor

"Cornfields, jet trails and power lines, fences, abandoned mines and greenhouses—human delineations mar but do not yet overpower the nonhuman landscapes in Brandon Krieg's stark, unerring and beautiful poems that, over and over, seek 'to find the way back // to this day among days. ' Krieg's voice is watchfully tender, attentive to nature and to our moment in it, ever aware that even as we leave our signatures after us, so does fireweed. In this lovely ecopoetry, Krieg achieves a 'good fearfulness' and even a joy that is no more or less elemental than rain. " — Nancy Eimers, author of Oz

"Intelligence at its vastest stretches to a scarcest cry, and is ours, and not: you'll hear it amply in the haunted, restless, dead-on lively poetry to be found in Brandon Krieg's In the Gorge, a collection that finds its author deep in it, the sorrow and the joy, and the clarities that in this poetry have a luminosity all their own, because they have been seen, because they have themselves seen through us. I marvel at the heights of technique: free verse rising out of necessity to new necessities, new flashes and new spells. Even more considerable here is the marvel of the voice as it propounds resilient—tested, lived—ways into lyric sympathies and a compassion free of attachment, taking up dwelling there, gazing across. " — William Olsen, author of TechnoRage