An emotionally striking work that is sure to leave a lasting mark…
“We began merely as companions,/ comfortable in the other’s company,” Gutteridge narrates in his intimate and refreshing latest. “me: a kind of country/ bumpkin from a backwater town;/ you: big-city wise,/ sophisticate of opera/ and art and all things/ chic and durably urban,” he further writes. And thus begins a beautiful journey of love and companionship that lasted for decades until his wife Anne’s death. Throughout this collection, Gutteridge skillfully weaves narrative and lyric, poignant emotion and passion, and philosophical musings, and in the process he not only reveals how his decades-long blissful relationship started but the sweet, determined Anne as a person as well. In one poem, he talks about how Anne was so different to what he dreamed of: “Whenever I dreamt erotic,/ the object of my quixotic/ desire was almost always/ a doctored blonde with bold/ blue eyes the size of the/ Elgin marbles.” In “Nugget,” readers meet the woman, who took pride in loving and being loved. Almost all of the entries are in the form of free-flowing narrative form, “I bring you home to meet/ my mother, and when she smiles/ across the room at you,/ I can see she’s sizing up/ her rival’s size, your ‘matronly’/ shape and the mutinous bob/ of your unnecessarily lustrous/ locks and trying to decide/ whose cradle was being robbed, and whether the smile/ blooming lupine in your eyes/ is blameless, or bridal.” Artfully constructed, the collection is an ode to all that is love.
Early Days with Anne