The Star-Brushed Horizon
Author: Don Gutteridge
Title: The Star-Brushed Horizon
ISBN: 978-1-927725-coming soon
Trade Paperback: 80 pages
Suggested Retail (Paperback): $19.95
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About his previous book:
Reading Don Gutteridge’s collection of poetry, Home Ground, will instill a sense of wonder and presence with his well-hewn memories of Point Edward. Don’s delight in crafting his poems, in making his images sing, spills over onto the page. The reader can’t help but be affected on many levels. Home Ground reveals the bright tapestry that is the author’s memories, his adventures as a child, his companions and family. If it is correct to say that a great poem aspires to include the mind, the body, the heart, the soul and the spirit in one surround, then one can affirm that this collection of poems, Home Ground, has indeed realized this truism. Don Gutteridge, a Canadian voice through and through, is a poet to be reckoned with.
Home Ground is a collection of poems written by Don Gutteridge, a poet, author and Professor Emeritus at the University of Western Ontario. Part One is entitled Home Base and is comprised of poems celebrating his childhood years spent in Point Edward, Ontario. The poems in Part Two, entitled In The Now, celebrate family, memorialize friends who have passed on and muse on faith, life and what comes after. The poet’s relationship with his father, a mercurial being, is remembered in Pincers in which he saw “My Dad on skates: as quick/as Rocket Richard with the grace of Gordie Howe, he skimmed/the ice with nary a pause/for the applause that rocked/against the rafters,/he stick-handled with the ease/and breakaway speed/of a whirling dervish,/and with a pride that brimmed/beyond the rink, un-/furled against the world.” And in Heroic where a honorary plaque from long ago “is enough to set/me imagining my Dad/on skates with stride-strong/strokes as smooth as a/swan flows over/the perfect parabola of a pond,/or like some winged Icarus/seducing the sun, the rink/his royal residence, while/townsfolk cheer/his every dipsy-doodle/deke and dodge.”
In Joy, Gutteridge’s experiences as a teacher of twelve-year-olds are shared as he watches that moment of creativity awaken in a student: “eyes lit up/with an innocence I envy,/and when the film stops,/there is a subtle moment/of silence before the pens/start scratching and I breathe/again as one boy/plugs away at his maiden/poem, hatched from something/itching inside, where words/and joy collide.” He follows that insight into creativity further in Sneeze: “Penning Poems can be/a bit of a tight-rope/trick: words balanced/on the brink of meaning,/import that must be/teased out syllable/by syllable before they ink/the page with their passionate/purpose: composing is a/high-wire trapeze/act.” In Mutual, he and his grandson, Tom, travel in their imaginations back to the village “that gave me/verve and volume to beam/my voice abroad,” Tom accompanying him “to the place he pictured/from an overdose of my poems/and stories” as the two “cherish this/chance to bond, sharing these defining moments/when our mutual imaginations/meet and intertwine.
The In Memoriam poems celebrate childhood and adult friends, often recalling times spent on the beaches of Canatarra or on the golf course or other sporting venues. In Exuberance: For Bruce Ashdown: In Memoriam, the poet recalls: “Everything you did was out-/size, you galvanized gumption,/you put the imp in impish,/../you struck a racketball/as if it were Hitler’s head,/…you maneuvered/your skiff with sails set/as close to the wind as audacity/allows, your hand on the tiller/as supple as a lover’s touch.” One can see the gusto and enthusiasm in that bizarre and compelling allusion to Hitler’s head, a force just about anyone could share in and cheer on.
“Reading Don Gutteridge’s collections of poetry have also instilled in me a sense of wonder and presence at his memories of Point Edward. I found myself smiling with delight and recognition as I beheld in MagicalMrs. Bray’s magical/house floated on flowers,/doused to the sills with bloom,” the village’s own Ceres, whose widowhood somehow made her apart yet integral to the mystery of the village. Don’s delight in crafting his poems, in making his images sing, spills over onto the page, and the reader can’t help but be affected. Each of his collections reveals a bit more of the bright tapestry that is the author’s memories of Point Edward, his adventures as a child, his companions and family, and Home Ground is no exception. It’s most highly recommended.
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