Charles Bernstein

On Barbara Guest

In a period of American poetry in which the most visible and indeed much of the very best poetry has been written with hooks galore — whether outrageous or flamboyant or hip or morally uplifting, the arrogant or agonized or transcendent — Barbara Guest has used no hooks — and this has allowed her to create a textually saturated and satisfying poetry that embodies the transient, the ephemeral, the flickering in translucent surfaces that we call painterly for lack of a term to chart the refusal of a pseudo-depth of field that remains a ghostly presence in much of the poetry of our time.