Guest, Paul

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Guest, Paul


Born in Chattanooga, TN. Education: University of Tennessee, B.A.; Southern Illinois University, M.F.A.


Home—Carrollton, GA. E-mail—[email protected]


Poet and educator. University of West Georgia, Carrollton, and University of Tennessee, teacher of English.


New Issues Poetry Prize, 2002, for The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World; Prairie Schooner Book Prize, 2006, for Notes for My Body Double; Whiting Writers' Award, 2007.


The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, New Issues/Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), 2003.

Notes for My Body Double, University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, NE), 2007.

Contributor to literary journals, including Slate, Iowa Review, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, Quarterly West, and Third Coast. Also author of the Paul Guest blog.


American poet Paul Guest began writing poetry in high school and has since published several collections of poetry as well as contributions to a number of literary journals, including Slate, Mid-American Review, Quarterly West, and Iowa Review. His work has garnered multiple literary awards and recognition. In addition to his writing career, Guest has taught English and creative writing at the University of West Georgia and at the University of Tennessee, his alma mater.

Guest told Adirondack Review interviewer Colleen Marie Ryor that he began his career as a poet when he was still in high school. "My biology teacher had run out of things for us to do so he sent us outside to ‘type’ the various trees on campus," the poet explained. "And in the midst of that, out of the blue, I had an impulse to write a poem. I rushed inside and wrote it up on a computer. It's like an unused chunk of my brain suddenly switched on." "I knew that was what I was meant to be," he said in another interview, this one with West Georgian contributor Danielle Davidson, "like sometimes you just fall into something you're meant to be. As for teaching, I know it's kind of cliché, but I love it and enjoy it, and I can't imagine doing anything different."

Guest's first collection of poetry is the 2003 book The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World. The poetry in this collection touches on a wide range of subjects, including love, pain, comic books, heaven, and hell. While not autobiographical, Guest's poems occasionally touch on events from the poet's past, such as a childhood accident that left him seriously injured. He has also used dark humor in his work. Elaine Sexton, in a review for Prairie Schooner, called The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World "muscular, stark, cool, original and biting."

Guest's second book of poetry is 2007's Notes for My Body Double. "The second book is sadder, more elegiac," the author told Ryor. "It's colored by some bad times. But there is also the arc of a great love scattered through out it. And that gives the book a glow, a warmth, I think." Guest's poems carry a sense of fragility and uncertainty of the future. Overall, critics praised Guest and his work. Notes for My Body Double is a collection of "appealingly conversational poems," wrote one New York Times Book Review contributor.



New York Times Book Review, December 30, 2007, review of Notes for My Body Double, p. 14.

Prairie Schooner, December 22, 2004, Elaine Sexton, review of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, p. 197.

Publishers Weekly, January 21, 2008, "Memoir Deals for Guest, Anderson," p. 22.


Adirondack Review, (July 9, 2008), Colleen Marie Ryor, interview with Paul Guest.

From the Fishouse, (July 9, 2008), author profile.

Western Michigan University Web site, (July 9, 2008), author profile.

West Georgian, (July 9, 2008), Danielle Davidson, "Chatting with Whiting Writers' Award Winner and UWG Professor Paul Guest."