"...Verdict: Fried’s sophomore offering marks him as a poet on the rise, an important and individual voice. For all readers of contemporary poetry. "—Library Journal (starred)
These poems are written through the lens and with the cadences of children (or adults trying to remember being children)
The Children Are Reading inhabits childhood spaces, physical and imaginative, through the looking-glass of grown-up longing.
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Reviews / Endorsements
"As multilayered as the finest fables, stories that are simultaneously about innocence, illusion, and its loss, and the power of storytelling itself."—Publisher's Weekly
"...Whether speaking as a child, or as a parent or other adult, the sadness, longing, wanderlust, and wonder in these poems is conveyed with great power, thanks to Fried’s exquisite control of line and diction...." —Los Angeles Review of Books
"... Fried brilliantly presents parenthood as the experience of inhabiting multiple childhoods, one’s own and that of one’s children, at once."—Kathryn Nuernberger, St. Louis Post
“I know of no contemporary poet who captures the mystery of childhood with as much accuracy, force, and empathy as Gabriel Fried….”—Catherine Barnett
“…Gabriel Fried beautifully conjures the myriad ways we imagine our kids will come to harm, the strangers they are to us, and the quicksand of childhood that mires some souls.”—Susan Wheeler
“If you have any doubt about the ominousness of childhood—its fundamental, and often terrifying mysteries—read Gabriel Fried’s The Children Are Reading. Fried ambles through the children’s mythic landscape, which they have inherited from the adults who love them, to produce this haunting meditation….” —Ross Gay
From the Book:
And now where have they been, the boys?
Something's missing from their eyes,
something trusting, something kind
cast off like skin or old toys.
The farm that reeks of shit in summer—
they smell of it, their breath so thick
we gag. Could they have traveled
all that way while we were staring,
returning to us feral, with a blank mistrust
that borders on intent to kill?
They've become the rivals we forgot we had,
—their nails clotted with muck and rust —
untended, clover, aroused.
GABRIEL FRIED is the author of Making the New Lamb Take, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, which was named a top poetry collection of 2007 by Foreword Reviews and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is also the editor of an anthology, Heart of the Order: Baseball Poems, and longtime poetry editor of Persea Books. He teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Missouri.