Andy Fogle’s book, Across From Now begs us to listen and to listen with our whole selves. Apart from its daring reflections on familial elements and the lives that are often lived as we sift through the marrows of life, this collection of introspective poetry spans the question of what happens to us in the in-between spaces?
This collection covers time to the various environments and lands that occupy that time. Fogle takes us on a ride that fills our head-spaces and heart-middles. From speaking about beaches to discussing mornings to speaking about what makes us alive in living, Fogle allows us access into an authentic world where the minutia of space and feeling intertwine, and where readers can lean into spaces that challenge and inspire them to think about interpersonal dynamics, connectivity, and what it means to be part of a family, as well as to have a family.
In one of his beginning poems, “One Ring,” Fogle drops readers into the symbolism between what once was, and emotionality—how even the positionality of a telephone was something that impacted emotional access, depth, and understanding. Fogle asserts, “Back when phones still had bells inside them / and plugged into walls / back when we were tethered to the box.” Fogle helps readers explore the ways in which history has transformed our relationship to items, the tangible, and the emotional resonance of that tangible.
Each of Fogle’s poems explores a motif of noticing and remembering. Whether Fogle is exploring the way things feel within a family context, how things resonate in the world, or simply how things create themselves in the world, the writing hums and throbs within our bodies, and challenges the way we perceive the world around us.
Fogle invites us to think about how we participate in our humanity alongside other living and breathing entities. Each poem occupies a body of its own and traverses the poem’s corresponding breath, parts, and emotional vibrations. Fogle illustrates the extent of what lies behind the quiet, the everyday, and often reveals common environments to describe things and what is happening inside of them. Fogle is bold in the way he marries the minutia of humanity with its simultaneous thrumming aliveness, in how he conjures a sense of things that happens outside of the page completely.
Fogle’s writing encourages readers to lean into their own minds, to melt into their bodies, as the words are being read. Fogle challenges readers to sit with what is, to stay still with what is and forces us to bend as the poetry too bends, as he implores us to continue looking further. The beauty of this writing is that it keeps us thinking about what is happening between the lines—it keeps us balancing reality and the space we go right before we fall asleep.
The hallmark of Fogle’s poetry is centered around the use of the everyday riddled with emotions behind the banal, the commonplace, the pedestrian. This work takes us to places where the poems begin and end inside themselves. Fogle challenges us to think about ourselves as we are contained within ourselves. We are forced to consider things outside of ourselves, to truly sink into what makes us feel, what makes us yearn, what makes us access our full spectrum of emotions.
Fogle begs us all to occupy a different perspective, to see things through a new lens. Fogle invites us into worlds completely new and fascinating and allows us to move through its time at our own pace. This collection cuts deeply. These poems force us to consider the monotony present in our lives, present in our bodies. These collections are not here to make us comfortable, but rather to help us confront the reality of ourselves. Fogle supports readers in rending a new version of the mundane, in seeing something we might not have considered before in what we see continually.
The best part of this book is how Fogle cradles us in the reverie of quiet language with sharp and loud meaning. There is no shortage of critical thought and intentional feeling throughout this collection. Readers are hooked onto every line and are immersed in the world of being. There is interesting play and daring narrative language used in this work—it never fails to put things for us right in our bodies, or in our experiences. These poems require our attention; they exist on the page and beg us to exist alongside them.
Sabrina Sarro is a social worker in the state of NY. They hold an LMSW from Columbia University and are currently pursuing an MFA from the City College of New York—CUNY. As a queer non-binary writer of color, they are most interested in investigating the intersectionalities of life and engaging in self-reflection and introspection. They are an alumnus of the LAMBDA Literary Emerging Voices for LGBTQIA* Writers Retreat, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Yale Writers’ Workshop, and many others. They have received scholarships from The Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.