“Gary Lemons’ third book, the Hunger Sutras, advances his brilliant quartet and is something very surprising—like James Merrill meets Robert Bly. This book, though, is in no way derivative—it is, and this is my point, utterly original and, if this is possible, it’s also a warm-hearted puzzlement. This work serves as an illumination in a time of great darkness. Wonderful!”
- Norman Dubie, recipient of the 2002 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry
"Reading Gary Lemons’ The Hunger Sutras, you will enter a dizzyingly visionary head-space, and you will feel your skull crack, ear imp, spirit throb. Expect to be transported at vertiginous speed to an apocalyptic post-modern world where “naked angels / [Lie] in the sand like industrial debris” (re-see: the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder), this wondrous topsy-turvy, twisted, gnarled-up world (O Revelation) where “melodious ashes fill the air,” this “compost pile” realm of the tail-flailing snake, Lemons’ own re-invention of the Damaballah of Haitian vodun but with a Buddhist twist. Be convulsed, be transmogrified by snake’s prophecies, by snake’s obfuscations, by snake’s teasing secrets—O, indeed, allow yourself to be enraptured by snake’s riddling words, by snake’s shape-shifting thoughts, this animal shaman “befriender of the dead,” this trickster that dwells in the here and the there—omniscient as an “atom in an eye,” this roving seer that seeks after truths (the many, never the few) and like some avenging angel “detonates all the lies she’s ever / Been told.”
- Orlando Ricardo Menes
“In this, “the book of last moments,” I find myself healed from deep sorrow. Living at a time of private and global crisis, it is difficult to believe in the value poetry. What good is a book in a world without a future? In “Snake Quartet: Book 3—The Hunger Sutras,” I was able to shed skin and become vulnerable— I was given time and space to feel again. As I followed Snake through her/his epic journey (a serpentine movement between life and death) I was reminded of “why I love to die.” In bravely facing death, Snake (and the reader) is able to love again. As Snake puts it, “This is me in your mouth—you in mine—/ Lets stop chewing before everything is gone.” This is the book I’ve hungered for my whole life; it is the book of our times. It offers us what few words can—an undeniable sense of hope."
- Nicelle Davis