The Ardent Dark by Don Gutteridge

Impressive… Compelling and utterly candid.

Guttridge’s stunning latest combines a miscellaneous collection, comprising meditations on the leisurely boyhood days of sexual awakening, tribute to loved ones, and reflections on Bible stories from Sunday school among others. In “All the Waters of the World,” the opening poem, Gutteridge reflects on the sense of security and warmth that his beloved grandfather brought to his young, anxious mind. His attention to detail is sharp and his imagery apt and poignant, making the poems, in every sense, transporting: “Me just seven, my hand/ in his, loving to be led,/ a sifting of sand beneath/ my feet, free to feel,/ a sweep of beach from rim/ to rim, a whisper of waves/ before they bring their blue/ to bear Whether he’s swimming in clear waters of the lake in Canatara, building castles on its sands, sledging with friends on chilly winter nights, taking a walk with his grandfather, mourning the loss of loved ones, or reflecting on Bible stories taught in Sunday school, the details add up to way more than beautiful writing. Gutteridge’s greatest strength is his acute sense of observation. He possesses the ability to thread sensuousness into the fabric of everyday life, as in “April Rain,” he writes: “It was one of those early/ April rains that whisper/ in the grass and breathe with listless/ mists on tulip blooms/ just debouched from their bulbs,/ and tickle the nipples of new-born shoots: a time/ of bud-thrust and furious/ unfurling, and all things/ a-green, lusting for light.” Readers will be able to identify with many of the poems in the book. While “Cuddle,” “Defrocked,” and “Roan” are ripe on boyhood sexuality, the sorrowful “Benign,” “One Year On,” and “Heathen” mourning the loss of loved ones are sobering. This striking collection of human interactions, portraits, religion, and memories makes for a stunner.

The Ardent Dark

By Don Gutteridge

Coming soon

Categories: Poetry

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