Guthrie, Camille In Captivity

ISBN 13: 9781930068322

In Captivity

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9781930068322: In Captivity
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Poetry. Camille Guthrie transposes the pastoral themes of the medieval Unicorn Tapestries with those of modern, urban life in an ingenious re-imagining of both. Amidst her flora and fauna we encounter a lookout, a boyfriend, informants, hunters, poets, and a rock star--all fresh translations of familiar figures. Here the unicorn becomes a blank figure for the beloved, knowledge, and vision. The allegory of the hunt becomes the pursuit of the elusive prey of meaning. As in THE MASTER THIEF (subpress 2000), Guthrie agilely uses traditional and modern poetic forms. These fearless poems invite the reader to be startled by ideas and ambushed by beauty. "Camille Guthrie's sharp eye for lyric detail, her use of shifting connections, narrative fragments, quotations, and demarcations have produced a haunting and powerful collection of meditations. This sequence is the work of an impressive new voice in American poetry"--Susan Howe. "A captivating composition. A loving trap"--C.D. Wright.

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About the Author:

Camille Guthrie's debut, The Master Thief, was published by Subpress in 2000. She was born in Seattle and grew up in Pittsburgh. After studying poetry at Vassar College and Brown University, she settled in New York City, where she taught literature and creative writing at New York University and a Quaker high school. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and Web sites, including Artkrush.com, BeardofBees.com, Bird Dog, Conjunctions, Chicago Review, The Gig, The Poetry Project Newsletter, and The Poker. Poems from The Master Thief were translated into French for the journal Arsenal. She was recently interviewed about In Captivity in the spring 2005 Chicago Review. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their baby son.

From Publishers Weekly:

If Guthrie's The Master Thief (2000) was a fable of fraught girlhood, this book's peculiar, post-adolescent parable of adulthood shows how sylvan ambition and unquenchable desire get shunted ("Like pathers in a parking garage") into a gendered, Wasteland-like confab of urban caccophony, loaded relationships and poisonous artistic rivlaries—yet emerge "to show the whole scene in flames." With a mastery of archaic diction that recalls Susan Howe, Guthrie crafts an alternately sweet, harsh, seductive, loving and contemptuous female voice that loosely narrates a fall into love and writing (not necessarily in that order). At her most incandescent, she sounds like Susan Sontag as the love child of Robert Browning and Sylvia Plath: "I never wanted to be your handmaiden/ Pencil driving in a rose-entwined enclosure.// Put away the 15th century encyclopedia now,/ Reality-testing is what we're up to./ How does matter behave under tremendous pressure?/ I almost wrote pleasure." Litanys like "My Boyfriend" ("ribs like a bookcase"; "balls large as a boar-hound's") give way to mean serial poems ("Imposter! Why not move back to Boston[?]"), and to the gorgeous final "In Captivity," where "Girls hide make-believe artifacts under canopies/ Boys tear down posters and unload their pellet guns." It's a tough world, but Guthrie tracks its "rate of radiance" masterfully. (Nov.)
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Camille Guthrie
Published by Subpress (2006)
ISBN 10: 1930068328 ISBN 13: 9781930068322
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