Love, longing, nostalgia for yesterday, loss, and religion are at the center of Gutteridge’s marvelous latest poetry collection. The collection opens with “THE ARMOUR OF MY ARMS,” written in Gutteridge’s wife Anne’s memory: “O my love! I can still/feel the feel of your flesh/ and the warmth of your welcoming/ on those nights when only/ our bodies would do, our lust/ undistilled by tact/ or the little healing acts/ of affection that made our days/ a delight.” From telling the story of how his father gave up his personal dream of making it big in sports during the Great Depression to serve in the war, to his innocent faith in God as a young boy, the exploration of his boyhood sexuality, his failed attempts at writing a detective novel as a seventh grader, mourning the loss of his wife of decades and other family members, to his grief over his grandson’s untimely tragic death––“and when you died, some part/ of me that had dreamed you/ a future with the seeds of genius/ in it and embossed by the majesty/ of your mind – faltered, and I was left/ bereft like a bard without a ballad,/ striving to find the word/ that rhymed with love and its loss,” Gutteridge’s assured voice teems with tenderness, longing, and love. In “WORDSWORTHIAN,” he remembers the time when he saw his writing in print. He was sixteen at the time. Written in memory of loved ones long-gone, the last few poems offer insights about how grief and nostalgia remain a part of our memories. Oscillating between happy and sad ruminations of yesterday, the collection will leave readers hungry for more of the poet’s work. Full of longing and wisdom, this poignant collection is a reflection on life, love, and death.
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