Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Vol. 53, No. 4, Summer

A Conversation on Symbiosis
Patricia Dienstfrey and Rena Rosenwasser, the co-founders of Kelsey Street Press, have published four books by Barbara Guest: Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing as well as three collaborations between the poet and visual artists. They discuss...
A Conversation with Rosmarie Waldrop
The following exchange took place over email between December 2005 and March 2006. [section] Growing up in an occupied zone in postwar Germany must have given you a sense of English as a force of occupation and incorporation. When you were ten...
A Foreign Substance
Many of Barbara Guest's poems work with vivid and unforgettable images--architectural, pictorial, swirling images that dissolve and nest and metamorphose. Her ekphrastic images, specifically, move away from the body of the text into their own space,...
A Friendship
The Confetti Trees is a collection of stories, described on its back cover as "short, poetically conceived scenarios for film." It has its roots in that period during World War II when Los Angeles became what Barbara called, when she wrote about it...
Afterword
The poems published here, from the Barbara Guest archive at the Beinecke Library at Yale, never appeared in a collection. They were written fairly early in Guest's long career, probably in the early 1960s. (Guest's first book was published in 1960,...
Barbara Guest and the Boys at the Cedar Bar: Some Painterly Uses of Language
For Mei-mei Berssenbrugge Barbara Guest admitted to envying the freedom of painters so much that she began "to use some of their methods," especially the method that "lends an idea of space to the poem." What attracted Guest most powerfully was...
Barbara Guest: Books, Chapbooks, Artists' Books
The Location of Things. New York: Tibor de Nagy, 1960. Goodnough [with B.H. Friedman]. Paris: Georges Fall, 1962. [Study of painter Robert Goodnough.] Poems: The Location of Things, Archaics, The Open Skies. Garden City: Doubleday, 1962. The...
Barbara Guest in the Shadow of Surrealism
"Hotel Comfort" is the last poem Barbara Guest wrote and among its conspicuous features is its inclusion of the words "Surrealist" and "Surrealism." At her last two or three readings, she'd begun to identify herself as a surrealist, prompted in part...
Byron's Signatories
Thanks to the web we quickly learn more about familiar materials--more than the last time we read them, certainly. Well, I don't know if we learn more, but different things. Poking around with "signatories"--as in what the hell does the word mean--and...
Chimed Things
I want to revisit the first two pages of Section III of Rocks on a Platter, a piece I have taught several times, to explore the practical way in which both the sensual immediacy and the mystery of Barbara Guest's lyric experimentalism operate there....
Dear Body
Do you read first books differently than books by established poets? Hoping for something truly new, I nonetheless find myself settling for "promise" or "potential." Such lowered expectations protect against the disappointment that comes from recognizing...
Dreamstories 2
DS (2)--the characteristically cryptic title of Kamau Brathwaite's latest work--stands for Dreamstories 2 and marks its status as a belated sequel to the little-known but poignant Dreamstories (1994), which recounts the poet's private musings through...
During the Composition of "Rising, Falling, Hovering": A Personal Document of the War, of Mexico, and an American Family's Halting Progress
She worked in the negative. She worked against herself. Always. If she were to get the hang of something, she took it as a signal to try something another way, i.e., eliminate punctuation so as to face the bare ground on which the words are affixed....
Hannah Weiner's Open House
Hannah Weiner, Hannah Weiner's Open House. Edited by Patrick F. Durgin. Ypsilanti, MI: Kenning Editions, 2007. 178pp. $14.95 The first, if not quite the earliest, text reproduced in this highly instructive selected works is an invitation from the...
Horace. Oakland
Tim Atkins, Horace. Oakland: O Books, 2007. 76pp. $12. The following is the third chapter of an unfolding critical novella on current British Poetry, to be entitled Corroded by Symbolysme: An Anti-Review of Twelve British Poets, Being Also a True...
Isa the Truck Named Isadore
Amanda Nadelberg, lsa the Truck Named lsadore. Raymond, NH: Slope Editions, 2006. 94pp. $14.95 Amanda Nadelberg's first book comprises sixty-three poems, each of which takes its title from a dictionary of first names. The second poem, "Albert,"...
Lost and Found in the Turler Losses
Barbara Guest contended throughout her poetry with its ever-present disposition to fragment. For her friend Frank O'Hara, survival was a matter of poise sustained in incessant polylogue. The self holds itself up by a repartee that short-circuits introspection....
On "Roses"
The only time I ever planned to spend an extended time abroad, I sent a little box of books ahead of me: books chosen to be my America, should I have need of America. The box was lost. And so, for many months, the only home-made poems to hand were...
Port: A Murder in One Act
CHARACTERS INSPECTOR His ASSISTANT HEROINE, who is called Clarissa HERO, who is called Harlow PUY, a Lord, also uncle to the HEROINE A CORONER A GHOST, which is a light A SERVANT SIX VOICES SCENE I INSPECTOR: The corpse...
Recalling a Friendship
I met Barbara Guest because we were both seeing the same psychiatrist in New York, Dr. Charles Richards. Unprofessionally, he thought we should know each other, so I called her and she invited me to dinner in her apartment on 94th Street. She served...
Shadowy Figures in Quill, Solitary Apparition
In Forces of the Imagination, Barbara Guest writes that "In the not too far off future the curtain will be drawn on Modernism as it enters history. Already the shades are listing as Modernism begins to cross the border, exulting in a new freedom called...
Sorry, Tree
For many people, Eileen Myles's biography precedes her poetry: St. Mark's Poetry Project director; descendant of the New York School and assistant to James Schuyler; "openly female" write-in candidate for the 1992 US presidential election (with dog-clad...
The Age of Huts (Compleat)
The Age of Huts (compleat) includes four core texts that were first published individually in small-edition or chapbook forms: "Ketjak," Sunset Debris," "The Chinese Notebook," and "2197." Each core text was composed using various constraints, which...
The Lady's Choice
CHARACTERS ANTIONETTE NEWTON, about 30, an unmarried and unhappy heiress ELEANOR LOWELL, the same age, happily married GERALD WARING, a young man in his thirties, in love with Antoinette CHRISTIAN, an allegorical character MR. NEWTON,...
The Line
The Line is a marvelous title, and marvelous achievement, not least because it names a volume of prose poems where the title describes the thread of an argument rather than a distinctive formal unit. Moxley is the contemporary American poet who is...
The Office: A One-Act Play in Three Scenes
CHARACTERS x1 x2 x3 GIRL 1 GIRL 2 GIRL 3 OFFICE BOY FIGURE IN YELLOW [section] The play takes place in an office. There are three desks. A water cooler. A Dictaphone. A loudspeaker. A blackboard. The desk of X1, who portrays...
The Remittance of Mistrust
I am filled with doubts about poetry, about its content and value. I have no single complaint, but a sense that the magic of poetry seduces with gestures and ambiguities beyond its rhetoric and wit. Yet I repeatedly discover that I cannot refuse my...