- Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost - 20081019 - Carolyn Guinzio

Carolyn GuinzioCarolyn Guinzio is the author of Quarry (Fall 2008, Free Verse Editions, Parlor Press), and West Pullman
(Bordighera, 2005), winner of the Bordighera Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA from Bard College and has received awards from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Fund for Poetry, and the arts councils of Illinois and Kentucky. Her work has appeared in the journals Colorado Review, 42opus, New American Writing, Phoebe, and Willow Springs, among others. She lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Here's what they are saying about Carolyn Guinzio:

Carolyn Guinzio writes moving poems of great delicacy, balancing
opposites and adjacents at once. She also writes a kind of sentence
that switches mid-run like a train on its tracks, re-casting its syntax
without so much as a how-do-you-do. Through the curtain of birds and
insects, or the scrim made of the lives of unadorned citizens, she
allows us to "press so close to the unfamiliar" without making it any
less strange. This is a gifted poet's gifted first book.
- Susan Wheeler

"Nothing ever travels more / than half-way away," are lines in
Carolyn Guinzio's wonderful first book. The tug away and toward one's
place is at the center of this volume, the "musty nativity" that one
carries through life like a muse. The farther away you get from "the
old women ambling to mass / in babushkas and black wool coats," the
more insistent they become. These poems are rooted in the ethereal grit
of the actual but also reach astonishingly into that beauty Wallace
Stevens called the real - a world made fresh by imagination: "We are
meant to see / into the water, / into the sky between leaves. / These
were two of our many / blue things. Spiders / fatten, listening / with
their feet."
- Paul Hoover

The career of sunlight is complex and astonishing. "A finch on a
thistle turns the dome / of its eye," as Guinzio observes and then,
astonishingly, pursues through numberless refractions, unprecendented
spectra. Seldom is the prism of straightforwardness so fine, so
furthering as here. West Pullman shows colors I had only hoped to
- Donald Revell


Slivers of white dishes on a wood floor.
White cows in drought-dead fields.
Being dusted, swept away.
Slack nerves make for dropped dishes.
A bus stopped at the edge of a field.
Being dusted; given dust,
made up of what makes the nerves go slack.
Descending the steps of the bus
at the wrong but appointed time.
They know the local words for weeds
and birds. Little world, hard to leave.
The stack of white china was empty and clean.
It was unfinished. It had not yet begun.

We are all breathing the same thing,
our eyes turned away, our lungs
buried out of view. Together
on the train, we are contained,
speeding through the fine space
between clear and silver, pouring
back out of the holes we drilled
in the earth. An article is stuck,
sucked to the grate, quelling the question.
At the stops, we are all watching
the blurs slur down to letters,
streets named for reasons
long ago razed, the shapes,
crops, and daughters fading
shades under the grid.

Dust rises with our every move,
then falls. The bus, green, silver,
white, on a road through the rows
of crops. In the space between
where the bus ends and the train
begins, five thousand small hearts
are slow in the fat-fronted
dickcissel finches, dying from eating
one round of seed, given up to save
the remainder. The girl in her one
good dress sleeps standing up.
The crops will arrive cleanly wrapped,
no trace of a former story.

Wrap the shards in heavy cloth.
They will work into the skin.
We could breathe glass.
They say rain dove, sparrow hawk.
They say buzzard:
spoken things, breathing things, unfixed.
In the book, a kestrel watches a field,
white in the empty margin.
The girl, below the slack strung wire,
waits by the sign, looks up
from her guide to see
an almost weightless thing
jump to hover nine feet from earth,
waiting for the perfect
second to connect.

First appeared in Blackbird magazine.


P.S. Hey Folks,

My show got a recommendation on this site: http://creativewriting201.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/live-event-this-week/
Rustin Larson