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Paul Guest

Paul Guest

Paul Guest was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and raised in Georgia. He received a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Tennessee and an M.F.A. from Southern Illinois University. His poems have appeared in Slate, The Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Quarterly West, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a 2007 Whiting Writers' Award and his second book, Notes for My Body Double, won the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Also by Paul Guest

 

 

The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World

The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the WorldThe Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World

$14.00 paper | 93 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-930974-27-2
Publication Date: April 2003
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org

Winner of the 2002 New Issues Poetry Prize
Campbell McGrath, Judge

"Guest's generous vision encompasses both cataract and rivulet, flood and drought; in fact, his essential insight is the inextricable linkage of such opposites, a perception captured wryly by his title—The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World—and voiced with lyrical grace throughout his book."
         —Campbell McGrath

"Paul Guest’s poems are infused with tenderness toward the world despite its harsh indifference toward us. Literally and metaphorically, these are poems scratched out with a stick held between the teeth. And they manage to fashion, from life’s rough lot, testaments of good faith to the flesh, the world, the word, and love in all its various garments."
         —Lucia Perillo

"Filled with irony, fantastic leaps of imagination and a poetic maturity most poets don’t achieve for several books, this incredible debut works dialectically to resurrect our world among all its broken bodies. Here is a voice smart enough and sentient enough to know that the pain and the love of that world are two sides of the proverbial coin—a poet who, like Stevens’ eagle, clearly sees the infinite alps of our emotions as a single nest."
         —Richard Jackson

"From my first encounter with Paul Guest’s poetry, I have thought of him as one of the most brilliant poets in America. His gifts are many: lyrical spontaneity, quirky inventiveness, profundity, emotional wisdom, and unfailing lucidity. His poems bring at once both range and focus, wit and seriousness. Indeed, Guest makes no distinction between light and dark subject matter. The accomplishment of his poems translates everything into delight."
         —Rodney Jones

"This prize-winner first collection by poet Paul Guest emerses the reader in a passionate physicality and a sensibility that can encompass both Ovid and the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn, in a writing style that is relaxed and assured. Paralysed in a cycling accident at age 12, Guest does not shy away in his poetry from the consequences of living with his disability, in such poems as 'For a Long Time I Have Wanted to Write a Handi-Capable Poem' or 'Litany' where 'what we would keep // as best we could: [is] our bodies.' Guest draws us into his life without demanding sympathy but rather our unflenching witness, saying in 'On My Failed Epic:'Like shark's teeth, these poems startle.' They also impress with lyrical grace and compassionate engagement in this cruel, funny, yet ultimately sustaining world."
         —LitRag

"Grunst is an admirable craftsperson with a fine, discriminating ear."
         —Vince Gotera, North American Review

Poem

On the Persistence of the Letter as a Form

Dear murderous world, dear gawking heart,
I never wrote back to you; not one word

wrenched itself free of my fog-draped mind
to dab in ink the day’s dull catalog

of ruin. Take back the ten-speed bike
which bent like a child’s cheap toy

beneath me. Accept as your own
the guitar that was smashed over my brother,

who writes now from jail in Savannah,
who I cannot begin to answer. Here

is the beloved pet who died at my feet,
and there, outside my window,

is where my mother buried it in a coffin
meant for a newborn. Upon

my family, raw and vigilant, visit numbness.
Of numbness I know enough.