‚ÄčPraise for Contemplative Man:

 

"I doubt that any other first book has ever been this funny and candid and wise all at once. Brock Guthrie's territory is bone-deep bafflement as lived by young men who know that their strategic responses (alcohol, risk-taking, bellicosity, deadpan hard-edge irony, hilarity) to tedium and confusing desire won't bring enough understanding or freedom. The wonderful rare comedy of Guthrie's work flows from defiant persistence in a world that feels rigged against individual dignity. Fortunately, dignity and encouragement do result from poetry so extremely unpretentious and so cool-eyed."

         

-Mark Halliday, author of Keep This Forever and Thresherphobe

 

"Brock Guthrie has his finger pressed firmly to the boozy pulse of the working class in twenty-first century America, and the poems in Contemplative Man, so funny and sad and incredibly beautiful, are also some of the best stories I've read in a long time." 

 

-Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff and The Devil All the Time

"Did Hank Williams rise from the dead and Everette Maddox also and did these two give birth somehow to this person Brock Guthrie? That’s sort of what it feels like, reading these sodden meditations on everything from biting the ears of cats who spill bourbon on keyboards to putting shoebox non-bombs—that’s cardboard folded into a rectangle with the word “BOMB” written on it—near a drive-thru waiting for an “hilarious” “nothing” to happen. Yes, this speaker is funny. He’s a throw-back wild-man thinking his way through thinking, a hyper self-conscious joker “making muscles and wrenching headlocks” in the mirror or “perched, parched / on a log in a clearing among the desiccated cattails.”  But this book is tragic too—as wide-awake to the death under everything as any elegy. It’s the mixture here that you’re going to love—Guthrie feeling “momentous [and] abashed” at the bar or making a “living / on top of a roof” like a naked sentry at the county fair you’d be a fool not to heed and even salute."

 

-Adrian Blevins, author of Live from the Homesick Jamboree and Appalachians Run Amok