Biography of Barbara Guest
Barbara Guest née Barbara Ann Pinson (September 6, 1920 – February 15, 2006) was an American poet and prose stylist. Guest first gained recognition as a member of the first generation New York School of poetry. Guest wrote more than 15 books of poetry spanning sixty years of writing. In 1999, she was awarded the Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement by the Poetry Society of America. Guest also wrote art criticism, essays, and plays. Her collages appeared on the covers of several of her books of poetry. She was also well known for her biography of the poet H.D., Herself Defined: The Poet H.D. and Her World (1984).
Born in Wilmington, North Carolina and raised in California, Guest attended UCLA, and then earned a B.A. in General Curriculum-Humanities in 1943 at UC Berkeley. She worked as an editorial associate at ARTnews magazine from 1951-1959.
Barbara Guest wrote more than 15 books of poetry spanning sixty years of writing. "Her poems begin in the midst of action," wrote Peter Gizzi in his introduction to a collection of her work, "but their angle of perception is oblique." Her poems are known for their abstract quality, vivid language, and intellectualism. She believed that the subject of the poem finds itself through the writing of the poem and through the poet's imagination. "Disturbing the conventional relations of subjects and objects, of reality and imagination, is one of Guest's signature gestures," noted Gizzi.
Barbara Guest Poems
The Blue Stairs
There is no fear in taking the first step or the second or the third
Santa Fe Trail
I go separately The sweet knees of oxen have pressed a path for me ghosts with ingots have burned their bare hands it is the dungaree darkness with China stitched
"painting has no air . . ." —Gertrude Stein That there should never be air in a picture surprises me.
Unreasonable lenses refract the sensitive rabbit holes, mole dwellings and snake climes where twist burrow and sneeze a native species
In the past we listened to photographs. They heard our voice speak. Alive, active. What had been distance was memory. Dusk came, Pushed us forward, emptying the laboratory each night undisturbed by Erasure.
for John Coltrane Words after all
At sunset from the top of the stair watching the castle mallets wrenched from their socket fell from ambush into flame flew into hiding;
Grass grew long in the story. Pieces clung to bedclothes. In the night he believed he grew taller.
Eating Chocolate Ice Cream: Reading Maya...
Since I've decided to revolutionize my life since " decided "
Dissonance Royal Traveller
sound opens sound shank of globe strings floating out
Y otras pasan; y viéndome tan triste, toman un poquito de ti en la abrupta arruga de mi hondo dolor. Cesar Vellejo
A Way of Being
There we go in cars, did you guess we wore sandals? Carrying the till, memorizing its numbers, apt at the essential such as rearranging
That is why I am here not among the ibises. Why the permanent city parasol covers even me.
Sleep is 20 remembering the insignificant flamenco dancer in Granada
The form of the poem subsided, it enters another poem.
A witness was found for the markings inscribed upside-down.
It might have been a celebration, so strong the presence
of the poem. The sky sinks slowly inside the past.