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Kingdom Come and Other Poems
Gutteridge delivers a sparkling collection shaped by longing and melancholy, and rendered with precise imagery in his latest. There are reflections about life, young love, childhood friendships, and leisurely days of roaming the town streets. In “Disguises” and “Luminous,” he draws on boyhood memories of lust and passion. Some of the poems are a touch too melancholic (“Weightless,” “More Than Once,” “A Walk Interrupted”) while others are fun and playful. Gutteridge’s expressive language is a feast for the senses, bringing enormous significance to the everyday life of the small Canadian town: in “Solace,” his descriptions of the wintery rides to school are richly evocative: “O how I remember/ those wintry rides/ to school in Max’s tinpot/ “taxi,” me in front,/ hoping for heat, the sisters/ Laur cozied in the back/ with my brother, the windows/ fringed with filigrees of frost.” In “Butch,” he ponders the fleeting nature of childhood friendships. “Ruck” dizzies with imagination and his ever-present wit: “and we arrived to find the Reverend/ Bell’s manse a smoudering/ tangle of brick and plaster-/ lath, and the good parson/ seated on his manicured grass/ as if he were about to give/ the Benediction or pass/ the plate, and someone said,/ “Praised be the Lord,”/ but looking, amazed, at the ruin/ and ruck, my thought was:/ “The Lord was a little late.” Full of life and wisdom, this excellent assemblage of childhood memories brings the yearning and nostalgia of the yesterday to a contemporary audience. A tender, incisive, and playful collection that beautifully explores the intimate nostalgic moments of yesterday.