A World Less Away is a honeycomb, blackbox, dream codex and memory palace. These poems traffic in the interstices of our lives where the quotidian is imbued with meaning and hums with metaphysical unrest. By turns existential, surreal and elegiac, the poems in this collection take swerves that are sure to transport the reader to the oneiric side of reality while never losing sight that "flesh was the first simile/we were given, /to feel, conjure, /never truly inhabit."
The cosmic reach of this work is powerful, effective.
— Sixteen Rivers Press
A World Less Away is a masterful mapping, an aesthetic atlas of ideas, war, creation, economic decline, tenderness, and the journeys we make among them. Populated by figures as diverse as Glen Gould, Georgia O’Keefe, Paul Celan, Jorge Luis Borges, Dante Aligheri, Andrew Wyeth, Icarus and even Shakespeare, Gutierrez’s poems inhabit a country of profound engagement and gorgeous reflection. Meditative and inquisitive, these poems migrate between the personal and the political in modes both smart and accessible. “Let us all drink in the praise of stars,” Gutierrez writes. I’m all for that, but let us drink in praise of these wonderful poems. — Dean Rader
"For so much beauty/there's carbon load." In José Luis Gutiérrez's poems, dark and light are balanced, albeit precariously. The voice in these poems is one of barely suppressed intensity, a voice that blends comedy and distress with precision: "I hate watches/almost as much as dandruff and Republicans." Lines from these remarkable poems, such as "A trace of civet reminds me of an intangible wound" and "This pigeon with a broken wing/justifies my fear of flying," will surely come back to you in your dreams. — Erica Goss, Los Gatos Poet Laureate Emerita