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The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest; Hadley Guest, ed.; Peter Gizzi, intro.

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2008 • 600 pp. 3 illus. 6 x 9"

$27.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6777-2
$22.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7451-0

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“[Barbara Guest’s] 500-page Collected Poems belongs among the achievements of 20th-century modernism, a sphere overlapping almost nowhere with the mimetic, anecdotal, psychologically motivated poetry that predominated in the US for much of her career.”—Ange Mlinko, London Review of Books

The lifework of a preeminent New York School poet

One of the most notable members of the New York School—and its best-known woman—Barbara Guest began writing poetry in the 1950s in company that included John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, and James Schuyler. And from the beginning, her practice placed her at the vanguard of American writing. Guest’s poetry, saturated in the visual arts, extended the formal experiments of modernism, and played the abstract qualities of language against its sensuousness and materiality. Now, for the first time, all of her published poems have been brought together in one volume, offering readers and scholars unprecedented access to Guest’s remarkable visionary work. This Collected Poems moves from her early New York School years through her more abstract later work, including some final poems never before published. Switching effortlessly from the real to the dreamlike, the observed to the imagined, this is poetry both gentle and piercing—seemingly simple, but truly and beautifully dislocating.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“A micro-cinepoetic border-crosser, Guest epochalized here is already well-known for her exquisite, exacting ways of connecting and weaving her way through various modernist and postmodern Avant-garde trends, visual and verbal, including objectivist poetry, Abstract Expressionism, language poetry, etc.”—Kyoo Lee, The Brooklyn Rail

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest … gradually reveals and artist's growing expressive confidence and self-possession. Despite the false starts and wrong turns, Guest found a way, mastering the labyrinth of tradition and influence. Her work is a struggle to render the order of perception in language, for clarity of the observed phenomenon.”—Robert Huddleston, Mantis

The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest belongs on every poetry lover’s bookshelf. This large and lovely volume, as the title suggests, contains all the poetry Guest published in her lifetime, along with a smattering of new, posthumous poems, a partial bibliography, a time line, and a fine essay by Peter Gizzi.”—Dan Giancola, The East Hampton Star

“Barbara Guest has created a textually saturated poetry that embodies the transient, the ephemeral, and the flickering in translucent surfaces of contingent connections. These poems unravel before us so that we may revel in them, find for ourselves, if we go unprepared, the dwelling that they beckon us to inhabit.”—Charles Bernstein

“Reading Barbara Guest’s Collected Poems is like sitting on the very edge of time, as each poem, each book, seems to surpass its own expectations, foraging and inventing in a ceaseless renovation of poetic energies. Barbara Guest envisioned, for generations to come, a future for lyric poetry.”—Ann Lauterbach

From the Book:

Lo, from the outside a poem is with us, of another composition.
Travelled from an antique place.
Writing, narrow and sparse, pungent as the lemon tree.
Difficult, spelling and montage.

We have built no large hall to labor in.
We sleep on small cushions for as long as we wish.

Our lives are composed with magic and euphony.
– “Composition,” from The Red Gaze


Winner of the SFSU Poetry Center Book Award (2010)

Author Photo

BARBARA GUEST (1920–2006) published over twenty volumes of poetry, and earned awards including the Robert Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America. HADLEY GUEST is Barbara Guest’s daughter. She lives in Berkeley, California. PETER GIZZI is the author of four books of poetry, including The Outernationale (2007). He teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This project is supported in part by an award from
National Endowment for the Arts

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:55:53 -0500