Gregory Pardlo

News & Press

Praise for Digest

“Gregory Pardlo renders history just as clearly and palpably as he renders New York City, or Copenhagen, or his native New Jersey. But mostly what he renders is America, with its intractable conundrums and its clashing iconographies. With lines that balance poise and a jam-packed visceral music, and images that glimmer and seethe together like a conflagration, these poems are a showcase for Pardlo’s ample and agile mind, his courageous social conscience, and his mighty voice.” —Tracy K. Smith

“A bright-red thread of fatherhood runs through this book—at times tenuous, at times mythic—always searching and revelatory, grounded in our present moment while wrestling with eternity—a thrilling, brilliant, and deeply moving ride.” —Nick Flynn

“In an age of poems crafted to resemble linguistic balloon-animals or sheets of floral wallpaper, it is rare to find an American poet thinking seriously about anything. I suppose that’s what makes Gregory Pardlo’s engaged, intelligent poetry, with its exuberant range of cultural and historical reference, feel a bit like stumbling out of the desert to encounter the Nile River. Smart and humane, Digest engages in lyricized textual analysis, playful philosophical exegesis, and satirical syllabi building, even as it evokes a Whitmanesque Brooklyn of the 21st Century that Pardlo inhabits with a ‘neighborknowing confidence and ease.’ These are poems that delight the ear, encourage the heart, and nourish the brain.” —Campbell McGrath

"Gregory Pardlo is a genuine New York poet, one whose associative poems crowd with sound and intellect, varied cultures, shared histories, with high and low and home—or at least the hope of it. But whereas for many of the city’s iconic poets, multiplicity means speed, in Pardlo’s Digest the words bear a great, slow weight, suggesting how much obligation there is in, as George Oppen described it, 'being numerous.' In one poem, looking around at the various crowds in Prospect Park, he hungers for 'the quickening backfill of belonging, the stranger- / facing, the neighbor-knowing confidence and ease / with the ripple that diminishes as it extends / over the vast potential of immovable thirst.' At its best, Digest registers our indebtedness in intricate pleasures that never let us pull free." — Jonathan Farmer, Slate

"These stunningly conceived and well-wrought poems demonstrate Pardlo's ease with postmodern literary theory and philosophy as well as the more traditional themes of fatherhood and life in contemporary America. The poems embrace a wide variety of styles and include everything from a surrealist meditation on the poet's origins to mock book reviews and philosophical treatises." — Sonja James, The Journal

“Digest is like nothing I’ve read in years—intellectually rigorous; serious; theoretically, socially, and emotionally engaged. And Pardlo writes with enormous economy of language, psychological acuity, and sonic complexity. This is truly a memorable and brilliant collection of poems.” — Kevin Prufer, On The Seawall

"Digest offers a changing, rich landscape of verse, both haunting, funny, and rigorously intellectual. It’s an exciting second book from a poet who is quietly crafting an insightful voice and deep portrayal of Americanness and humanity." —Jerry Magazine

"A brainy, compassionate book (Pardlo’s second) that uses a pleasingly large stylistic palette to paint a portrait of fatherhood, racial politics and Brooklyn before it became a place to buy $30 glasses of bourbon." — "David Orr's 10 Favorite Poetry Books of 2014," New York Times

"There is nothing shrinking or shrieking about Pardlo’s poetic, or his plentitude. Any literary forefather would energetically infuse his cartwheel, his hopscotch, his double Dutch, were he asked to claim Pardlo as his literary son." — Scott Hightower, Coldfront Magazine

"Pardlo has come by his associations honestly, not as tricks to bring together unrelated things in language play that may produce some new thought for the reader. Instead, in the Romantic tradition, he is using the language that bounces back from his subjects to give us a sense of how his mind works and simultaneously illuminating relational knowledge previously unknown to his readers." — Tupelo Quarterly

"Digest, like the country Pardlo hopes to see birthed, is a vision where diversity is not a reason for separation, but a call to read better, to find the connections that make the story work even when it seems like it might not." —Daniel Pecchenino, Dialogist

"Nothing seems to escape this uncovering poet’s full-on scrutiny, his wry but empathetic assessment; Pardlo is a modern griot and shape-shifter, a Prospero of unforced allusion: an up-for-anything Pardlo poem can deftly evoke sociology, jazz, lofty philosophy, African-American lit, Russian cinema, Greek mythology, European travel, film noir, hip hop, and a host of other topics. His heartening and exuberant intelligence is everywhere on display in Digest, and his musically brisk, propelling, always-alive poems are laden with spot-on observations and trenchant commentary, with small and sometimes key epiphanies." — Cyrus Cassells, The Washington Spectator

"The Pulitzer win of Gregory Pardlo, Baltimore and what Poetry can do," — Roger Bonair-Agard, The Best American Poetry

"This book is very American (Brooklyn, NY especially) and speaks to the American (im)possibilities of being a person who is always searching for a home that is right beneath his feet, mischievously shifting beneath him as history in its three forms of past, present, and future swallow him whole." — Phillip B. Williams, The Rumpus

"In Digest Pardlo shows himself a poet who can do so many things well." — David N., Fourth and Sycamore