Publication date: February 14, 2017
Paperback | 119 pages
ISBN: 978-0-692-80960-0
$14.99 U.S. | $19.99 International

Self-reflective, discursive, and painfully studied, Gnome is a poetic and phenomenological excavation of shadows; the tragicomic dimensions of our inner curiosities and longings that wait pensively to be ruptured into epiphany. Employing a language that devises to question the renegade forces of experience that the soul must both adorn and endure, Lunday confronts the unstable yet tempting relationship between expression and proof, memory and personal reality. Invoking physiological positions from figures ranging from Georges Bataille and Max Picard to Kōbō Abe and Elaine Scarry, Gnome is a monologue of mad reveries that endeavors to develop its own impression of love and death, proving that the surfaces we encounter are the materialization of the endless depths at our disposal.


ROBERT LUNDAY is the author of Gnome (Black Sun Lit, 2017) and Mad Flights (Ashland Poetry Press, 2002). A former Wallace Stegner fellow and recipient of the Inprint Donald Barthelme Prize in Nonfiction, his poetry and essays have appeared in Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast, The Boiler, [PANK], River Teeth, Agni, and elsewhere. He lives in central Texas and teaches at Houston Community College.

Email editors [at] blacksunlit [dot] com for an advance review copy.

Praise for Gnome:

“Years in the making, this trance-inducing exploration of the body—and particularly the face—as ‘the ground of myth’ is a phenomenological wonder. How does Gnome manage to be simultaneously convergent and divergent, recursive and surprising, uncanny and familiar, densely erudite yet resonant with internal space? Reading it, I felt as though I was wandering inside a hypertext or undergoing a labyrinthine initiation. ‘The eye has no home other than its blind spot,’ Lunday declares—and I believe him—yet page after page I found my vision newly refreshed. This is one of the biggest reads of my millennium thus far.”

—Claire Bateman, author of Leap

“Robert Lunday is one of the most unique voices in contemporary poetry. At once eloquent and inquisitive, his poems are meditations on the history of physiognomy as well as the nature of personal reality. Reading Gnome, I felt as if I were reading the words of a visionary who speaks to the mystery of life itself, and of the dream we are all living.”

—Nin Andrews, author of Why God Is a Woman

“Gnome—in which poetry takes upon itself again its ancient impulse to think within the beauty it pursues—is worth pondering in all its homonymic oddity. Lunday’s book is the guide we did not know we needed: guidebook to our own face, the fact of having a face, all it forms and all that forms through it, expression of eye and expression of words, and those worlds of thought behind the blank stare.”

—Dan Beachy-Quick, author of gentlessness

“Robert Lunday, in his book of razor-edged telling fragments, Gnome, is our Sir Arthur Evans, whipping up his own knockout Knossos of our ruined and ruminated cultural debris. Let’s call this stunning archeology a whole new code, an opened-eyed Linear C that restores the language of a host of others to this amazing maze of bull-leaping prose. Here, Lunday is a resurrected Theseus, unraveling that endless clew. Gnome traces the labyrinthine genome of our agonizing textual prosopagnosia. We come face-to-face with our face-blindness—a magnificent mirrored splicing, a bandaged and compressed fandango, a blinking and blinkered bombshell of a book, a book’s book.”

—Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone

“Names name him not. In Gnome, Robert Lunday attempts to word flesh-ridden human experience while avoiding mere description or explanation, fierce enough to take what he needs from what has gone before as we always come from somewhere and trusting to the reader a hundred years from yet also in the now to read.”

—Thomas McGonigle, author of The Corpse Dream of N. Petkov

“Gnome is a brilliant, original, and unclassifiable book of poem-essays, a mythopoetic equivalent of how abstractly the ‘face’ appears to us in language and through ego. Its swerve is unlike any other verse-text I know.”

—Thomas Larson, author of The Saddest Music Ever Written


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Reviews: Goodreads | Roughghosts

Excerpts: The Brooklyn Rail | Vestiges | Shadowgraph

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