Gary Dop

Gary Dop (Poetry) | Lynchburg, VA

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Gary Dop— poet, playwright, and performer—lives in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where he is an English professor at Randolph College. Dop’s first book of poems, Father, Child, Water, was a bestselling title from Red Hen Press in 2015. He has received the Great Plains Emerging Writer Prize and a Special Mention in the Pushcart Prize Anthology. His work has appeared in magazines, including the North American Review, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and New Letters. Dop regularly presents his work throughout the country.


Father, Child, Water (Red Hen Press, 2015). Poetry.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“In Father, Child, Water, Gary Dop uses plain speech and strong, clear imagery to create musical poems full of insight, love, tenderness, and humor too. This well-wrought, intensely human book will delight people who ‘don’’t get’ poetry, as well as those who do.””
—Charles Harper Webb

““In one of many watershed moments in this vibrant collection, poet Gary Dop writes, ‘’The world / will unravel, and I’’ll wonder what my hands / search for in the darkness’.’ Throughout Father, Child, Water, innocence repeatedly faces off with the terrifying yet clarifying bite of experience and knowledge within the serenely green-filled plains of a deceptively Edenic Midwest. Like a spoiler come to destroy the church’s summer potluck, the institutions of fathering (national, religious, familial) are compassionately questioned here, as Dop navigates patriarchal inheritances of violence and war, while defining his own role as a nurturing father——one seeking to protect and empower his own daughters from the brutal codes of obligatory masculinity. This nuanced book balances these resonant poems of fierce, terror, and love with deft comedy and delightful wit——including monologues in the voices of trickster savants who are not only heartbreaking in their damaged innocence, but hilariously and uncannily shrewd in their cultural critique.””
—Lee Ann Roripaugh

“Gary Dop’’s remarkable first collection is the work of a mature poet who can make you laugh and break your heart—sometimes simultaneously. As wide-ranging as his tone are his subject matter, from theology to pizza delivery; and his style, from richly lyric to hilariously satiric. In the many persona poems, he shows a Dickensian knack for characterization and a stand-up’s sense of timing. With Father, Child, Water, Gary Dop’’s become a player.””
William Trowbridge

“Dop’s first collection, Father, Child, Water establishes him as a poet, like Billy Collins, whose work seems to effortlessly share the space of authentic humor and seriousness.”
North American Review

“The poems in Father, Child, Water by Gary Dop are funny, wicked, and poignant. Dop’s poetic gaze is wide-ranging and piercing. The poems about his father engage with the violence embedded in American masculinity and the character-driven poems are empathic and quirky. A highly enjoyable and memorable book.”
Poetry Magazine

In Father, Child, Water, Gary Dop “leaves himself and us in the intermediate world of doubt and self-examination. He doesn’t know. In that, each word needs to work for all it’s worth for the speaker to see clearly and yet not assume too much. That exactness with language is really a study of the poet’s character, generous—giving the reader vivid details—yet humble. Those qualities drive this book….Humility and clarity translated into language result in clean, uncluttered verse. The poet eschews overt statements of truth, or expository deliberations….One must admire how the poet, Dop, provides us with just enough information, then lets us live inside the mystery that remains.”
New Letters

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