February 28, 2006

Barbara Guest 1920-2006

Barbara Guest, author of numerous volumes of poetry, prose, and drama, respected art critic and writer, died on February 15, 2006. As many critics, most notably Rachel Blau Du Plessis, have remarked, she is the frequently forgotten female member of the New York School. Her poetry, influenced by and influential of, the abstract expressionists and action painters, radically altered our perceptions of poetry and its representational limits. Poets.org has a brief bio about Barbara Guest.

One last brief note, The Blue Stairs, one of my favorite Guest poems, is worth reading for its ability to pinpoint many of the tendancies of 20th century ekphrastic writing. The poem itself is not directly ekphrastic, in the sense that it is not specifically representing visual "representation." The blue stairs refers to the steps in the front hall of the Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam; however, the steps become a focal point through which to view the art on the walls, our anxiety about how art is displayed, constructed, manipulated, and erased... all of that exists in this ekphrastic-nonekphrastic work. Check it out.

Posted by c_jane at February 28, 2006 11:32 AM | TrackBack