Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Jeffery Beam, "Gospel Earth"

Summer Swaps and Gifts, no. 1

Jeffery Beam is a poet worth knowing; I recommend this book and hope you will think about ordering it through your favorite bookshop. Poetry worth the reading needs the support of readers more than ever, and its faithful, dogged, heroic publishers need our dollars as well as our affection for poems.

Jacket painting by Laura Frankstone.

Hymn to the South
(from "Italian Scenes")

Pollarded arthritic trees
Olive & thyme clinging in the cliffs' clefts

"But more than even economy . . . is that way of giving his poems a deliberate & worldly strangeness. Each is an elegant reaching for subject." -Jim Cory

Aurelius says

Let the deity within you be the guardian of a living being
Red on the black gum leaves
Ants crawling on my neck skin tingling
Goldenrod's green gold river wind

". . . Simple purity, hymnal catching of delicate manifestations. I think it is high; & I think it is so American in the best sense." -Daphne Athas

Secret Gospel

The other world lord
with his rain buckets splashing
with his heart coming a wind
with his translucent looks ravishing
with his copper-ring circling his head
with one river rising
with one river emptying

He keeps turning round the certain mountains
Bringing me back
My seaweed skirt shivering emerald
So I can say the unsayable

To live is to sleep
Awakening the first longing
at dream's gate

"A collection to keep beside a bed. Where they might seep into the sleeping head like pearls. The white page a hand, the poems, tiny snail shells on the palm for scrutiny. Look even closer, they are even more exquisite." -Ippy Patterson

God Comes to See Me

God comes to see me
Without Bell

Never comes with Drum
But shakes the Footings

Of my House
With Subtle Water's roar

Listening at Crown of Day
When Nothing has been said

The Water take my Breath Away
The Landscape's recompense

"Jeffery Beam hovers around that legendary region of North Carolina that brings out hollerin', poets, real singers, & a certain fine strangeness. The poems come eerily out of gloom, sunlight splash, beast powers & something akin to spirituals." -Bob Arnold

Crucifix

Robin wrestles worm into a witch-hazel air
Suddenly air serene still as mother's milk

"I seed every breeze, sings the dandelion, sings every bright syllable in this Gospel Earth." -Thomas Meyer

William Morris'

hand in the weather
Acanthus leaves English oak leaves
Tongues of fire on earth
Ice patterns on glass

"Jeffery is a soul-awakener, a boy dryad, an aesthete of beauty & nature. It is easy to feel kindred to him because he wakes up a part of one that often drifts off to sleep." -Marly Youmans

Night Jar

detonates the woods
A hungry moth beats its face against a flower

World's heartbeat

"These poems are numinous, as any gospel should be." -Janet Lembke

The Hummingbirds

Twilight
The male's throat fire
& ruby powers

The female
subtler

Her light
simpler

Wings:
earthquake

flash
in air

Jeffery Beam is the author of more than twenty books of poetry, musical collaboration, & criticism. He is a botanical librarian in the Biology-Chemistry Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Every Knee Must Bow

Blue shade:

trumpet vine obeisance
to honey bee

"How large a canvas he can paint with a few deft strokes." -The Independent (Raleigh)

Night Gospel

Moon bronze cup

"Simplicity for Beam does not mean banality, either in thought or expression. It means attention strained to the utmost when directed at the natural world: not so much an illumination of it but a seeing of the radiance in it that others do not & singing its orgasmic force." -Douglas Chambers

Not Afraid

Pale perfect passion disappears
Lizard sunning on stone
Stone sunning on sun

"Gospel Earth is thrilling and choice." -James McGarrell

Revelation of the Cloud

winds clouds boom
the hubbub starts again

Remembered quote, once taped to the side of a bookcase in the UNC Bull's Head Bookshop: "People who say they love poetry and never buy any are a bunch of cheap sons-of-bitches." -Kenneth Patchen

How to order: Available for Ingram Book Company orders: ask your local bookstore. (Standard discount applies.) Also: Skysill Press, 3 Gervase Gardens, Clifton Village, Nottingham, NG11 8LZ, United Kingdom. http://www.skysillpress.blogspot.com/ Sam.Ward@nottingham.ac.uk You may write Skysill for more information if you would like to do a post or write a review about Jeffery Beam.

More right now? www.unc.edu/~jeffbeam/index.html

1 comment:

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.