Camille Guthrie The Master Thief

ISBN 13: 9781930068056

The Master Thief

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Poetry. Camille Guthrie's THE MASTER THIEF is a work of intricate architecture, allusive and elusive, as if one had been invited to a masked party in a remote gothic library, where the music is dissonant and the games as scary as a nightmare before a final exam. 'I lay down on a bed of glass/ Small had mirrors examined my lunar profile/ When the giant imprinted its spine into my palm.' Like a modern Psyche, the heroine is tested. Her epic trials are turned by Guthrie into a compelling and ingenious vision -- Ann Lauterbach.

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About the Author:

Camille Gutherie was born in 1971 in Seattle, Washington. Her teenage years were spent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She teaches at Friends Seminary in Brooklyn.

From Publishers Weekly:

By turns gothic, romantic and reminiscent of Dickinson at her most riddling, this 12-part verse bildungsroman succeeds where so many recent archaically based girl-narratives fail. Unapologetically culling a loose patchwork of poetic and prosaic fragments from literary history, Guthrie's speakers are alternately aphoristic ("Fear's a calamity of translation"), petulant ("Betweenpie, I expected the loveliest brainchild ever") and ironically exclamatory ("O monstrous act! I throw up a line and seize it right back"). Enigmatically named female characters--"She's Big With," "The Marked Child," "The Girl in the Machine"--are drawn from the preoccupations and diction of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century pulp; each reads as a facet of a larger persona, namely The Master Thief. Each of 12 installments takes a signature form, including pseudo-pantoums, fragmentary dialogues, ironic pastorals and impassioned litanies. By cutting antediluvian lexicons with the tonal invectives of a 21st-century feminist, Guthrie furthers the text-combing tradition of Susan Howe, infusing it with a wry humor and irresistible panache: "Give the lie/ my female evil," says "Emilia" in an aside, "Come on,/ admit impediments, show the choice// Myself I forfeit/ to be parent's sweet counterfeit./ Above the bedroom door/ In red letter, read: FREE TODAY, TOMORROW PAY." High seriousness, farce, and melodrama ensue, making this multivalent--or, more precisely, decidedly ambivalent--narrative richly rewarding, hilarious and heartbreaking. (Feb.)Forecast: Guthrie's brilliant poems on the art of Louise Bourgeois have been appearing steadily in magazines. This book, those poems and another set loosely based on the unicorn tapestries (excerpted in the recent "American Poetry: States of the Art" issue of Conjunctions) augur a promising career: "my sentence read, the hatchet flashed,/ my two hands buried at the root."

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Guthrie, Camille
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