Barbara Guest's poem "Roses"
Barbara Guest's "Roses." Listening to this discussion of Barbara Guest’s casually and yet densely allusive poem “Roses,” you will hear about Juan Gris-style cubism circa 1912 (in his own “Roses”), about William Carlos Williams’ famous celebration in “The rose is obsolete” of a new kind of rose – the metal rose, the sharp-edged rose, the lovely unlovely rose – and also about a memory from the age of eight that Gertrude Stein often retold as a way of explaining her views on the difference between art and nature. Is that difference a problem – an anxiety, a cause for reluctance — for the modernism-conscious poet who comes after modernism, such as indeed Guest, who has an instinct to make room in her writing for the ill person requiring real air to breathe? The PoemTalkers (Natalie Gerber, Randall Couch, Michelle Taransky) felt that this is a rebuke of modernist airlessness. Click here to continue on to “Air for Roses,” episode 24 of the PoemTalk series. The episode was released on October 19, 2009.