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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


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

The male's throat fire
& ruby powers

The female

Her light


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. 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?

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Once a colleague said, “What does the world need with another poem?” It stopped me cold for a year. But I had a burning need for beautiful uselessness.

Tonight I start the "first pass" read of The Throne of Psyche.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Morning thoughts

Picture credit: One of two by Jamey Novick that I'll use for publicity purposes for The Throne of Psyche. This one's the more mischievous of the two.

Meter is so very fascinating and cool: yesterday’s poem has a line about metal flexing and returning to shape. The line has one trochaic foot, and it is at the point of flexing.

Lions move wonderfully. No wonder it was “hep cat” and not “hep gerbil” or “hep hedgehog.”

I have lived for twelve years in a cold Yankee place where one cannot buy so simple an item as a jockstrap for a little (not so little!) wrestling boy. Or a white Oxford shirt for his concert. So now I shall go waste hours zipping down to Oneonta and shopping. It’s a good thing this village is beautiful.

I am having a grand sluice. Twenty-one related poems since October 17, the last written in the last hour. I love it when madness bristles up and gives one a frisky shaking.

When will I ever have time to read again? A child in constant sports with 8th-grade homework (we must get them ready for high school, no matter if sleep and dream and play must be abolished!) is a time-devourer. I am so terribly behind on reading novels by friends and penpals as well as others. Nevertheless, I am reading The Cloud of Unknowing piecemeal, plus poems. Medieval minds fascinate.

I need a brownie, a house elf, a maid. Could use a good secretary. Alas, I have: me. No doubt I do not deserve more.

Feeling worried about future solvency of college-age progeny. One called yesterday to consult on a sonnet. The other is writing stories. (She also sent Stephen Fry on grammar naziis: Must remember to introduce The Concept of Day Job.