Naomi Guttman weaves the Greek myths of Dionysus and Ariadne with that of Orpheus and Eurydice into fleshed-out multidimensional tableaus that depict the story of a modern nuclear family living in Montreal, each member of which pursues the promise of happiness that always seems within grasp and yet never remains still enough to fully embrace. As she did so successfuly in Wet Apples, White Blood, employing lyrical verse through a novelistic development of her story, Ms. Guttman infuses dramatic tension and pathos into a deeply moving work. However, she far exceeds that earlier book in the affective quality of Banquet‘s tapestry of varied poetic forms and prosodic technique. Anyone reading The Banquet of Donny & Ari will be touched by both the story and the art of its telling.
As fitting tribute to her work, the Syracuse YMCA’s Downtown Writers Center awarded Ms. Guttman the Central New York Book Award in Poetry for 2015. I have linked two reviews from her publisher’s website, as well as a link to her poem, “Chernobyl Wedding, 1986”: