Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Just received the descriptive copy for Notes for My Body Double. This is for the press catalog, and also bookstore buyers and book reviewers. It needs a couple of revisions, but here it is:

Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry

Notes for My Body Double
By Paul Guest

Who would guess that Godzilla, Goofy, the Invisible Man, Elvis, Donald Duck, Ted Williams, and the Three Stooges might have something to say about the love and loss that shape the way we see the world? And yet these are the pop-culture coordinates that chart the emotional life brilliantly mapped out in Paul Guest’s third book of poems. Winner of the Prairie Schooner Prize in Poetry, this collection plumbs the depths of nature and culture (how, for instance, “gar” in Old English means “spear,” and an octopus can lose a limb during mating) to give form to the darkness and the light that make us human.

In poetry whose tone is largely one of lament tempered by a wry and intelligent humor, Paul Guest does what a poet does best: he gives us the moments of his life refashioned to reflect the larger arc and meaning of our own--of life, that is, writ large.

Paul Guest is the author of Exit Interview and The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, winner of the 2002 New Issues Poetry Prize. Coeditor of Mot Juste and contributing editor for Words on Walls, Guest has taught poetry and writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Alabama since 2002.

“The primary tone of this book is lament, but it’s tempered with large doses of pointed humor. Notes for My Body Double resists every attempt to romanticize misery--the author’s and anyone else’s. An elemental longing pervades these poems which reward multiple readings.”—Peggy Shumaker, author of Blaze

“Notes for My Body Double has the utmost integrity: all its parts interconnect and clearly relate to an overarching theme. The poet underscores this by arranging the poems in a continuous rush forcing the reader into the skin of the one whose future has altered in an instant. Whatever redemption the speaker experiences arrives primarily through love of language and imagination (‘In praise of the fat moon, in praise of my howl’). This relentless collection is not easy to read, but its rewards are manifold.”—Carole Simmons Oles, author of Waking Stone: Inventions on the Life of Harriet Hosmer

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