Beautiful Poetry

By Camille Guthrie b. 1971 Camille Guthrie

“Being so caught up
  So mastered.”
                                       —Yeats

I was too shy to say anything but Your poems are so beautiful.
What kinds of things, feelings, or ideas inspire you,
I mean, outside the raw experiences of your life?
He turned a strange crosshatched color
as if he stood in a clouded painting, and said, Thanks,
but no other phenomena intrude upon my starlit mind.
 
I see you are wondering what this is all about. Don’t mind
me, I’m talking to myself again. Yes, poetry is nice and often beautiful,
yet it doesn’t beget much attention, money, or even a simple thanks
for placing the best words in the best order. That’s when I forget all about your
incessant demands, and the restless subject leaps the stream in Technicolor—
until the Remembrancer appears and says, Stop this wasteful life.
 
Doctor, lawyer, thief. These fancies of yours could cost a life
or worse, two. Meanwhile, he perceives my gifted body upholding my mind
as I’m explaining my stuff on the Unicorn Tapestries, cheeks starting to color,
feathers ruffling, quiet shudders. He shrugs, Your content sounds too beautiful
but I’d like to read it sometime. Okay. He says all the right things, like I love you
Hyacinth Girl. Things get interesting until the sudden blow: Thanks
 
For the memories. What I’ll think seeing his new work in The New Yorker is Thanks
for nothing, asshole, as he drops me for that prolific pastoral life
with his wife upstate. The more I think about it, it all depends upon your
phantom attention. Surely a world embroiders itself in one’s mind
at any moment, words resounding, ardent present clarifyingly beautiful
And beautifully truthful. You know? Here I should put in a lapis color
 
Or a murky midnight blue. Or have the crowd stagger by in a riot of color
pinning down the helpless beast with spears and ritualistic thanks
to their gods. What one really wants to get at is the real, the eternally beautiful
like The White Album or something. That’s what makes one perilous life
worth living. All the brute indifference, humiliation, and failure can put one in the   
             mind
to give up, freak out, kill somebody, heart battered, so mastered. Oh you
 
Wherever I go, on the subway, in my cubicle, at play, in sleep, it’s always you
of the air, overpowering my senses like a Dutch master in one pure color,
its fiction at full speed, walls breaking, a clarity panorama for the mind
hunting for meaning and finding it at last! Now look at all the work I did, and not
            one thanks
Not even flowers. Off you rush to watch him accept another award in that life
We can only dream of. From where you sit it all seems so beautiful
 
And I finally understand you. For that I can’t express enough thanks
As the subject is the best color for me in the difficulty of this lonely life.
It’s always caught up in my mind, what could be more beautiful.

Camille Guthrie, "Beautiful Poetry" from Another Instance. Copyright © 2011 by Camille Guthrie.  Reprinted by permission of Camille Guthrie.

Source: Another Instance (Instance Press, 2011)

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Poet Camille Guthrie b. 1971

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Life Choices, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Sestina

 Camille  Guthrie

Biography

Born in Seattle and raised in Pittsburgh, poet Camille Guthrie earned a BA at Vassar College and an MFA at Brown University. She is the author of the poetry collections The Master Thief (2000) and In Captivity (2006). Her experimental long poems and inter-textual poetic sequences often engage with ongoing literary conversations. In an interview with Chicago Review, Guthrie stated, “Writing about another text or object and in . . .

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Poems by Camille Guthrie

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Sestina

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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