Wesleyan New Poets, 1988
The poems in Bruce Beasley’s first book are prayers, their primary concerns the relationships and distance between the individual and God. All are rooted in the natural images of the poet’s native Georgia, such as red clay, magnolia, and hibiscus, “the mossy shells of old pecans,” “white petals of dogwood falling, like grace,” but also the acrid smell of a paper mill, six-packs of beer. Some poems, like “The Cursing of the Fig Tree” and “Death of Lazarus,” are retellings of biblical stories; others, more autobiographical, are spirituals of longing for communion and reunion. Separation is loss but “sometimes what lost comes back/outside its time/to touch us again.”
Bruce Beasley is a refreshingly physical poet . . . Beasley has a good ear, essential to any poet, and sometimes his music is superb, almost as good as Yeats . . . It is longing . . . that is at the heart of these poems. There is little 19th century certitude or 20th century theological complacency . . . Beasley transforms longing into the ground of faith itself.
–Kathleen Norris, Books and Religion
Bruce Beasley shows an original imagination and style in the way he retells Biblical stories in his first book . . .
It is especially satisfying to see a young American poet confronting and retelling these old stories . . . These are not poems of piety, though some are composed as prayers . . . Spirituals is a book of apprenticeship in which one can see the potential for genius in the retelling of the old stories.
–Mark Jarman, The Hudson Review
Bruce Beasley is a young celebrant who happens to be Christian, suffusing his finely spun free lines with an existentialist undercurrent . . . Spirituals expresses love and faith. Love underlies every poem in Beasley’s sharp strokes of imagery and language . . . Spirituals is an exceptional first book from a publisher well-known for its first books of poetry.
–St. Louis Post-Dispatch
This is a beautiful first book of poems. Bruce Beasley writes powerfully, and simply, of childhood, the lives and deaths of his parents, love and faith . . .
–Virginia Quarterly Review
To purchase, please contact Bruce.