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Ava Koohbor on A Gustonbook

There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk: A GUSTONBOOK, by Patrick James Dunagan


 “A form is that which beckons”

A Gustonbook is not as white as Rauschenberg’s white paintings and not as silent as John Cage’s silence piece; however, the reader finds the eye exploring the whiteness of pages while listening to the accentuated pauses from poem to poem.


There’s the you wants

to know the you doing

the knowing the you

listening in on what

the you is seeing


A Gustonbook is not a lecture about Phillip Guston but it’s like a simple visit to his studio, walking with him, sitting down, smoking, yapping, and watching Reservoir Dogs together.


Bang bang

Guston watching reservoir dogs


And a nostalgic farewell at the end,


“I had a good time”


Patrick Dunagan shares his visit with us in A Gustonbook. He is not alone, there are other poets and artists who drop in and leave as ghosts. He murmurs their words here and there.


Guston is a god.

 ~Ryan Coffey


And then comes the time for Dunagan to share his excitement of skateboarding down the San Francisco hills. Here, Guston is just a listener in a friendly chat.


Skating down Geary O’Farrell

Polk Columbus

to think to do

‘you might have to Ollie over

a chicken or something’


A Gustonbook is not a book which tells you all. It’s a thing which encourages you to stop and experience all alone.


I did this thing

I did

In the dark of light

I dig


this thing I did


What remains after reading A Gustonbook is a tingling curiosity for those who don’t know Guston and a touch of intimacy for those who have already visited him.

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