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Publishers Weekly, 2002-08-19 The poetry in Guest's 26 books is unsummarizable and, while this new volume resembles recent work such as Rocks on a Platter, it is in no way a repetition. Miniatures divides into three parts; two are single, extended open field poems proffered with extraordinary economy and elegance, and a wry takes on reflexive poetic reference to language: "mirror moving backward,// impromptu surface of the alphabet when she fell sideways." Guest has her own odd balance of momentary details, conceptual gestures, and the shadowy yet insistent sense of an individual's psyche being in play and at stake. "Pathos" is "icy" and decidedly feminine, its revolutionary Russia-era bearer "dressed in tulle,/ athletically inclined on jumping bars." "Blurred Edge" documents the uncertainties in approaching history, "a drama of exacting dimension." While clear outlines may be impossible, the poem "attempt[s] to get beyond the arrangement" of conventional teleology, to "the vibration of a peculiar touch." The first section of 24 brief poems, "Miniatures," gives quick takes on everything from the Aeneid to Chekhov to Coleridge. (On Schnberg: "This is not `dinner music'. This is a power structure,/ heavy as eyelids."). These three short works go together beautifully, held together by a will-to-inquiry that is as funny and skeptical as it is open and determined. (Sept.) Forecast: Guest won the Poetry Society of America's Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement in 1999, her 1995 Selected Poems remains in print, and her 1984 biography of H.D. is standard reading for many poets and feminists. This book, more accessible than her last Wesleyan release (1999's Rocks on a Platter), could be a finalist for major awards. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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