Sunday, November 02, 2008

Barbara Guest: The Red Gaze

The Red Gaze, Barbara Guest (Wesleyan UP, 2005)


A truism – by now, a cliché even – to speak of Guest's poems as "painterly." But they are, after all – poems acting & reenacting the "gaze" of the title, the act of seeing (the viewer's art) & the act of placing colors upon a field (the painter's). Spare poems, like a painter's spare palette, a canvas marked with only a few gestures of color – red, as the title (again) indicates, is prominent, tho never saturating. Perhaps the most purely aesthetic poems I've encountered in some time: that is, poems grounded in the satisfactions of the senses, shutting out the social, the political, the historical even – or setting them far to one side to pursue the immediate gratification of the eyes.

1 comment:

Ed Baker said...

re: GAZE. as part of the introduction to my book 1 (of 6) NEIGHBOR I use a quote/observation of...
Giacometti ( I don't know the date that he said/wrote this: from Lord's "Giacometti, a biography" p 426) ::

"Giacometti said: 'One day while I was drawing a young girl something struck me: that is to say, all of a sudden I noticed the only thing that remained alive was the gaze. The rest, the head made into a skull, became equivalent to a death's head. What made the difference between death and the individual was the gaze... In a living person there is no doubt that what makes him alive is his gaze. If the gaze, that is to say life itself, becomes essential, there is no doubt that what is essential is the head.'"

books 1,2,3 of NEIGHBOR on tel let site...I think.