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Enter the
Rousseau Prize for Literature

Enter the
Book Prize

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Winner of the 2012 National Poetry Review Book Prize

Guest Host

by Elizabeth Hughey

 

 

 

 

"If you have luckily found yourself with this book in your hands, don’t relinquish it until you have read every word (twice) and put it safely in bag to take with you always. These poems do this: they make you want them. As Hughey tells us, 'Quivering/ can be much better than flowering.' But these poems do both: quiver and flower. Part ancient lullaby and dream, these poems echo Dara Wier, Gertrude Stein, and Frank O’Hara to move into their own space of grand beauty. A space where 'Soap bubbles, the ornaments/ of a morning, float in the wait,' where you can 'Hear the drone of electric razors and feel the explosive thunder from the neighboring screen,' where 'a sun could have already/ faded.' These poems say to you, 'Dear travelers with your coins digested by the whirring, /punch the number for what you need. You may get an extra/ if you are open to revelations wrapped in cellophane.' Be open to the revelations of Guest Host. They will lead you on your path very well."
—Dorothea Lasky

"The frippery and bricolage of polite culture during war. The obsession with being 'seen,' as though our lack of privacy had not stripped anything conceivably hidden irrevocably away. Her idea of 'entering a new unimportance.' Her 'Silversmiths, please wake up again and polish us a new anthem.' The supple, sharp portraits of women shapeshifting as if still trapped under bell jars. Elizabeth Hughey’s Guest Host is a book of our time, and it is frightening and brave."
Gillian Conoley


"Elizabeth Hughey’s Guest Host considers Emily Post on the acid trip of the year 2012, sitting in front of the television or flipping through old photos, and probably reading Leibniz’s Monadology. These poems straddle extreme metamorphosis and the nowarchaic certainty about 'manners.' In other words, Hughey asks (from the middle of the explosion): How are we supposed to be behaving? How is one thing related to another? Her answer, terrifying and utterly believable, is something like: 'The way one door sometimes/ opens all of them, we become the same.'
Sarah Vap

 

Elizabeth Hughey is the author of Sunday Houses the Sunday House (University of Iowa Press) as well as Guest Host, and an NEA recipient. She is a contributing editor at Bateau Press and a founder of the Desert Island Supply Co., a free creative writing center for kids in the Birmingham area. New poems can be found in American Poetry Review, 27 rue de fleures and the White Whale Review. Elizabeth lives with her husband and two sons in Birmingham, Alabama, where she teaches creative writing and yoga.