Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other

Farther Traveler: Poetry, Prose, Other

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Author: Ronaldo V. Wilson

Publisher: Counterpath Press (2015)

Farther Traveler is an expansive, complex hybrid of poetry, prose, and memoir that engages with contemporary culture, race, and sexuality.

"There’s a Fanonian trumpet Fanon couldn’t imagine, a dance all his own he could neither own nor step to, Ronaldo V. Wilson’s otherwise inconceivable graph, whose beauty and power reaches new depths and new heights in Farther Traveler, an erotic history of loss that is, therefore, an erotic theory of finding, its iridescent contacts, its eruptive grammars, its fluid, fleshly, aromatic loves. In the fabric of the general catastrophe, every silver and impossible daddy, every soft and possible father, gone further and farther away, Wilson works something new for us, an encounter of which we are made wonderfully aware—texture, scene, caress.”

–Fred Moten

“The secret of the body, for Ronaldo V. Wilson, is that there are no secrets. As such, every drop of sweat in his new book refracts the overlap of the abject and the fleeting, the familiar and the anonymity of the body in sex and disintegration. Farther Traveler maps the fusion between losing a father who’s impossible to let go of and the excavation of what desire might mean for a life of radical possibility. For Wilson, the work of the poem—and our expectant pleasure—is to disclose what the self might become if thought could account for what the body seems given to need. And if it’s true that ‘You’ve become the body you’ve become,’ then that’s only the beginning.”

–Joshua Marie Wilkinson

“Ranging with promiscuous brilliance across diary, dissertation, lyric, chasm, cinema, and dream, Ronaldo V. Wilson tracks ‘instances where my body touches language,’ a protean adventure in which violation and sublimity, de Sade and Serena Williams shimmer as spectacle and twitch like muscle. Fearless son of that demented, adored father who is history, the farther traveler is the self—‘a projected composition’ constantly renewed.”

–Frances Richard

Farther Traveler shows us, across its virtuosic pages, what the sear of queer desire and loss made legible in language feels, looks and sounds like. In reveries and elegies, including post-dissertation interventions; tributes to Daddies, among them his own father, suffering from dementia; recollections of popular culture and porn; and beguiling image-text pairings, Ronaldo V. Wilson offers a poetics capable of enacting his singular, profound blend of the creative and critical, proving yet again that he’s a lyric innovator to his sweat-matted core. ‘My oppression . . . I must make beautiful.’ A (self-)love game, superlatively won.”

–John Keene

“In his triumphant Farther Traveler, Ronaldo V. Wilson writes toward a radical poetics of discomfort and defilement, trespassing boundaries of genre and desire, revealing unvarnished truths on race and sexuality that other skittish poetry collections will not touch. What makes Farther Traveler stand apart is that it dares to be ugly. Wilson engages the black body through a spectrum of disfiguring power relations from white daddy fetish to amateur porn, from academia’s microaggressions to racial profiling. ‘Farther Traveler’ is an alarm to the system; it’s tender elegy; it’s an uncompromising, self-searching foray into the ‘raging internal chaos’ of black consciousness. In his brilliant series of poetic statements, Wilson asks how to invent a language of racial identity. With breathtaking intellect, Wilson has invented that language.”

–Cathy Park Hong