A lyrically precise and subtle collection that deserves revisiting…
Gutteridge fills his latest with vivid imagery and intense emotion that arise from living a life fully and well. Elegant and rich with memorable descriptions and images, the collection explores life, mortality, recollections, and insights, inviting deeper reflection on the page. Some poems are laced with old fond memories (“We bring the baby home,/ wrapped up like a chrysalis,/ curled in a June cocoon”) and some with longing (“You never cared much/ for beribboned candy or boxed/ chocolate or the saccharine sentiments/ of greeting-card kitsch/ or Hallmark’s jogging doggerel”). There are intriguing descriptions of a long-gone yesterday, reflections and insights, nod to great English poets (the last poem “For AnneROSEATE” features lovely allusion to Robert Burns’ “A Red, Red Rose” placing it in conversation with the larger universe of writing.). But it’s the lingering grief (of losing his beloved wife Anne) that remains at the center of the book (“Once again, I gaze/ on this lovingly framed/ photo, the lone memento/ of the day you widened my smile,”), giving the illusion of a man who is no longer weighed down with sorrow, but has made It his companion and a sharer in his thoughts. And it’s the intense emotion behind these pieces that makes these yearning entries hard to forget. Intimate and quietly layered, the collection makes for a must-read.
A BUMPER CROP: New Poems