When the deaths of her ex-convict father and pedophile grandfather trigger a flood of repressed sex-abuse memories from her childhood, divorcee Cassandra Hart descends into alcoholism and destructive sexual relationships, until repeated DUI convictions finally land her in a court-ordered treatment facility. There she begins – reluctantly at first – the hard work of physical and psychological recovery. As she learns to trust her own spiritual inclinations and her capacity for self-reinvention, she is ultimately able to reclaim her life and achieve a long-delayed moral victory over her abusers. Within this narrative framework of verse, prose, and other hybrid forms, author Ryan Guth has interspersed other lyrics exploring the quintessentially southwestern mix of Hispanic, Anglo and Pueblo lore which informs Cassandra’s personal theology and sense of self.
Featured Title at the 2015 Southern Festival of Books
Ryan Guth and his family live in Jackson, Tennessee where he teaches literature, composition, and creative writing at the University of Memphis Lambuth campus. His first full-length poetry collection,Home Truths, was published in 2006 by the Alsop Review Press. This is his second book of poetry and mixed literary forms.
To read a sampling of Body and Soul go here
“In Body and Soul, Ryan Guth further develops the deeply personal narrative poetry that has always characterized his work. Cassandra, having barely survived a horrendously abusive childhood, struggles as an adult to separate fact from fantasy and come to terms with her difficult past. While the clues, distorted by personality disorders and the vagaries of memory, are sometimes deceptive and misleading, moments of surprising grace and transcendence shine through as Cassandra’s journey ultimately reaffi rms the possibility of redemption. Ranging from southern Ohio to the breathtaking beauty of the New Mexico desert, hers is a geographical odyssey as well. Whether we choose to read it as a gathering of poems or as a single, sustained narrative, Body and Soul is a major achievement by a daringly original poet.”
Robert Lavett Smith, author of Smoke in Cold Weather and The Widower Considers Candles Considers Candles
BODY and SOUL by Ryan Guth
ISBN 9781929878079 302 pages
8.5 x 8.5 inches; Perfect Bound; $20
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