Barbara Guest: The Countess from Minneapolis


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A sequence in verse and prose in which the spaces of the Mississippi and New York City yield a rich counterpoint.

Born in North Carolina, Barbara Guest grew up in California where she now lives, after many years in New York City. She has long been noted as an important American writer and member of the original “New York School” of poets. In 1999 she received the Frost-Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America. Recent books include Fair Realism (Sun & Moon, Lawrence Lipton Prize), Selected Poems (Sun & Moon, America Award) and Rocks on a Platter (Wesleyan UP).

“The Mississippi in verse and prose. “And quite a trip … They move on from her earlier poems, more expansively, allowing the broadest field for her most visual logic”

–Eileen Myles, Poetry Project Newsletter

“vibrant images, of both the eye and the mind, images that inherit from H.D., perhaps, but also from her painter’s eye, from Dadaism, Surrealism and the resulting lyricism of the images in the mind”

–Small Press Review

“Guest’s is an art of limpid evocation and darkening implication, a crystalline music of spaces and silences that seems to be carved or spun from some interior feel for tonality, an inside sense of life’s descending passage through time … This consummate poet’s craft mimes the tenuous, evanescent sense of shimmer or mirage that life’s splintered transparencies present us with its mysterious passage.”

–Tom Clark, San Francisco Chronicle

“The work burns strange messages into our consciousness. It makes us recognize that poetry can be the essential document to the condition of our time.”

–Rochelle Owens, American Book Review