See What I See
Essays by Greg Gerke
Available for pre-order now. Published on October 31.
What does it mean today to experience a work of art? In a culture of cynicism, at the mercy of a zeitgeist that prizes the trivial and ephemeral, where can we turn in search of the genuine, the sincere, the truly accomplished? And even if we were to find these things, would we know how to acknowledge their value?
The essays in See What I See are the fruits of a lifetime spent grappling with these questions. By turns lyrical and arch, nostalgic and impassioned, gnomic and piercingly insightful, they seek answers in the artistic achievements of the great masters as well as in less likely places. For Greg Gerke, the nectar of aesthetic experience is found as often in the human body as in poetry or prose, as much in a movement through the world as on celluloid and canvas. Rapturous and indignant, ecstatic and regretful, his essays register the nuances of living in a world abundant with art, and apprise us, page by page, of the sheer breadth of “the distinguished enterprise of being.”
Greg Gerke is an essayist and writer of short fiction, based in New York. His work has appeared in 3 AM Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. His collection of stories, Especially the Bad Things, is also available from Splice.
Praise for See What I See
This beguiling collection of belletristic essays puts into practice William H. Gass’ belief that “works of art are meant to be lived with and loved.” In prose as beautiful and imagistic as Gass’, Gerke recounts how he has lived with and loved certain authors — Gass, Gaddis, Stevens, Stein, Naipaul, and others — and with some auteur directors. See What I See paints a portrait of a “man of letters” in the old sense of the term, someone for whom literature is a way of life, not an academic profession, and I can’t recommend this highly enough.Steven Moore
author of The Novel: An Alternative Biography and My Back Pages
Greg Gerke’s See What I See is “enlivened by ruin.” James, Rilke, and Stevens. Gass and Gaddis. Eric Rohmer. These are the shards that he shores against this ruin. Gerke is one of the faithful remnant, loyal to the riches, pleasures, and freedoms of art. See What I See is the fittest subversion of the moralizing present: it revels in its own shrewd gorgeousity.Curtis White
author of The Middle Mind: Why Americans Don’t Think for Themselves