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Longing and melancholy remain at the heart of Gutteridge’s compelling latest collection of short poems. Teeming with awe and sensation, these pieces move skillfully from life to death, happiness to grief. From “PARABLES OF SNOW” to “HELTER-SKELTER” and “BELOW THE BRIDGE” to “A DEVIANT DAY,” Gutteridge skillfully plays with language, expressing his love for the craft. In poems, such as “STREWN RUINS,” “HOOLIGANS,” “DUBBED,” Gutteridge takes the reader to the mid-twentieth-century’s Point Edward, bringing the place and people to life. His keen observations are exceptional, interweaving corporal details with vivid imagery. “In Leckie’s barn,” he writes, “we feel/ the hush of hay in manger/ and mow, note the fluting/ coo of pigeons somewhere/ aloft and hear the breeze/ of the milch-cows’ breath.” And they are compelling in their honest exploration of adolescent sexuality: “It may have been Bonnie/ who suggested Strip Poker/ that day, but I was an instant/ gunslinging gambler.” Some poems examine the connection of love and intimacy. Some explore the Rural Western Canadian landscape of Gutteridge’s hometown, Point Edward. Other poems feature moments of melancholic reflection (“I’d like to think that some/ where we are all immortal”), boyhood lust (“O how we loved to ogle/ the girls and their long-legged/ leaping over Grandfather’s/ lawn, like propelled gazelles”), and longing and grief (“Four years have passed/ since last I wisped a wayward/ curl from your brow or lingered/ long upon your lips”). Gutteridge beautifully captures the range of human experience in these thoughtful pages. Glittering like stained glass, the collection offering an intimate portrait of a person who has lived and loved fully.
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