PRESS DEMOCRAT (SANTA ROSA) -- The title Be With is borrowed from a book of posthumously published poems by Gander’s partner of more than 30 years, the renowned C.D. Wright, who died unexpectedly in her sleep in 2016. That book’s dedication states, “for Forrest / line, lank and long, / be with.” The compilation is divided into thirds. One third, on the loss of Wright, grapples with “the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed,” according to the Pulitzer committee.
After graduating from William and Mary, Gander earned his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State, where he met Wright. Once he finished school, he supplemented his writing income by working in a methadone clinic on Polk Street.