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By: Camille Guthrie

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About This Title

Diamonds presents a woman in midlife on the edge. In hilarious and heartbreaking poems, Camille Guthrie writes about the trials and surprises of divorce, parenting, country life—and the difficulties and delights of being alone, looking at art, and falling in love.

Witty resilience abounds in these irreverent poems about grief and desire—in which the poet meditates upon gender roles, history, pop culture, and academia. Guthrie subverts and teases traditional forms in an elegy about Sylvia Plath’s prom dress, a dating profile for Hieronymus Bosch, a sestina about beauty and power—with radical dramatic monologues in the voices of Madame du Barry, a Pict Woman, and more. Unlike Virgil, who refuses to guide this poet through her journey at midlife, Guthrie leads readers by the hand into a provoking, affecting journey of a break-up and a reconciliation with love.

Excerpt from "Virgil, Hey"

Ah me! I find myself middle-aged divorced lost
In the forest dark of my failures mortgage & slack breasts
It’s hard to admit nobody wants to do me anymore
Not even Virgil will lead me down to his basement rental

Take a look at my firstborn son
Who put me on three months’ bed rest
For whom I bled on the emergency room floor
Who declaims his device sucks
Stabs holes in his bedroom wall
Complains his ATV’s too slow
Who plots to run away to join terrorists
He’d rather die than do math

And the little one ripped
From my womb in the surgery room
I pierced my nipples to unblock her milk
Who escapes from her car seat en route
Howls in rage ’cause her cake isn’t pretty
Writes “No Mom” on her door with a Sharpie
Who says, “No fence but you’re kinda fat”
She’d rather die than wear underpants

Virgil, hey! Send me down
To the second circle of hell where I belong
With those whom Love separated from Reason
Where an infernal hurricane will blast me
Hither & thither with no hope ever no comfort
Rather than drive these two to school this morning
And suffer forever with the other mothers

Praise for Camille Guthrie

“The poems in Diamonds were written by a tiger who survived divorce, single motherdom, middle age, and sleepless nights worrying about money and what clothes to wear, one who knows it could be worse but wants her revenge, which is—surprise—the revenge of an angel who possesses such intelligence, knowledge, charm, and wit that these poems, from Björk to Bosch, pay us in diamonds and bless us all.”
—Mary Ruefle, Author of My Private Property and Madness, Rack, and Honey

“Camille Guthrie’s Diamonds is a glorious feminist midlife scream, screed, and ode to the ‘paradoxes and oxymorons’ of a divorced mother’s struggles. With the dark formal wit of Philip Larkin and cutting rage of Sylvia Plath, Guthrie goes there, with hilarious piss and vinegar, on the Sisyphean defeats of an academic stranded; a mother burdened; a consumerist broke; a woman who’s had enough. Plundering the wisdom from Shakespeare, Keats, and Butler, along with the wisdom of online flotsam, Guthrie creates a fresh ribald collection that is all too relatable and unputdownable.”
—Cathy Park Hong, author of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning and Engine Empire

Publication Date: October 5, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-950774-45-6

© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2021