A poet bares his soul and eases his troubled mind in this debut collection of verse.
There’s a lot going on in Guest’s volume of poetry, and that’s a good thing. His book is divided into three movements that might roughly be described as the confessional, the observational, and the romantic. The first section, titled “Shards of Truth,” is the rawest, most honest. It features the poem “Plight,” whose opening lines could serve as an epigraph for the movement as a whole: “Words and ideas came to me / in a deafening multitude that could / have frightened the most abhorrent / behemoth you could have conjured up.” The poet’s muse here might be William S. Burroughs, who is similarly blunt and graphic in his explorations of his own mindscape. The second, mellower section is “Portal to the Soul.” For Cicero, the portal to the soul is the eyes, and this movement features many poems highlighting Guest’s visual connection to the world. Often, the author’s eyes fall on wildlife, producing works like “Scurrying”: “A pair of squirrels scurry up a tall tree noiselessly. / The merry couple jump off the branches to / Frolic along the wooden fences under the warm bower.” The poet clearly pays attention to details, and in this piece and elsewhere, he asks us to look with him at the wonders of nature. The final movement is “Love and What Comes Easier.” This is Guest at his most conventional, writing on relationships and romance. A representative poem from this movement is “Radiant Lips, Radiant Hips”: “Your radiant lips / mouth the words to a song / as you sway your hips. / The rhapsody is where you belong.” The great strength of this deeply personal collection is the fact that these three movements are both so distinct and so clearly defined. From them, readers learn that Guest is a poet with real range, and he has the ability to write well in a variety of discrete styles.
Three poetic movements, each one valuable and affecting.