cover image Articulated Lair

Articulated Lair

Camille Guthrie. Subpress (SPD, dist.), $15 trade paper (56p) ISBN 978-1-930068-57-5

Guthrie’s third book examines Louise Bourgeois, French-American artist and sculptor known for her developments in modern and contemporary visual arts. Guthrie’s project is not analogous to Bourgeois’s—while Bourgeois focuses on her interior experience and past (she is credited with founding the confessional art movement), Guthrie’s work is decidedly voyeuristic. Guthrie gazes outward; she contributes to a lineage of ekphrastic poetry that does not seek to meditate on the philosophies put forth by the art it observes, nor read into that art its own poetics, but rather figures, in short, cryptic lines, the art piece as the subject itself, the model or muse: “Oh, you’re enamored of spherical//Lingerers, all the tinted baptismal// archives and sweet greediness.” The book functions as a series of love poems to Bourgeois’s work, which is described and re-created in the poems, leaving the reader to imagine Bourgeois’s suggestively figurative work through the aperture of Guthrie’s spare poems: “Arros/ mark the past/ nakedness//Arrows riddle/ the tortured diameter// Left in the dust/ the sexual directions.” The poems in Articulated Lair offer an experience of the body that echoes Bourgeois in its a fascination with the organic, a return to the flesh as it exists in the mechanized world. Readers need to know Bourgeois’s work to appreciate the longing with which these poems strive to connect. (June)