In this moving collection, poet Bruce Beasley explores the nature of creation and the relationship between the creator and creature in all its senses.
Moving from fear and distrust of the creation to acceptance and rejoicing, this volume works as an extended argument against its epigraph from the mystic Julian of Norwich: “No soul is at rest until it has despised as nothing all things which are created.” The poems work out this struggle between despising and fearing the physical world–“a world/almost too physical to endure”–and rejoicing in the immanence of the divine within that world: “It’s labor,/and a kind of worship, to let creation/enter through the senses/in all its defective/splurge . . .” The Genesis story of creation and expulsion from grace structures this collection, which begins with poems on the creation of Eve, spoken by Adam, and one on the creation of language, in the voice of Eve. Ultimately, The Creation imagines createdness as a split–between the soul and God, between one person and another–and works toward a joyous reconciliation of that split. Its final long poem, “The Conceiving,” is an extended invitation to a not-yet-conceived child to enter the created world, “This life of the body, this ceaseless prayer.”
Rich in spiritual meaning and lyrical power, Beasley’s vision of the creation brings new meaning to the relationship between the human and divine condition in all its immense complexity.
From Publishers Weekly
This collection, winner of the 1993 Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award, is a gracefully lush reverie on matters of earth and spirit. Beasley meditates imaginatively on the theme in poems that sound the tone of prayers and vespers; elegies; re-envisioned biblical and classical mythology; more concrete personal reminiscence (“Going Home to Georgia”); seasonal observations, spiritually tinted (“Summer”); and essays in poetic form about longing, the fear of God and other subjects. The poet evokes states of loss, need and confusion with poignance, and his characterizations of looming figures are striking for their intuitive leaps and resolutions. A glimpse of God: “There’s something / that watches us, & hoards its desire, / remote / from whatever it needs.” A message to someone who has died: “There are times when you need / your death, / that quenched pain, the white / heat of bearing yourself / without any body.” Beasley’s softly wandering lines, ebbing and flowing as if with the drift of thought, help to bring the spiritual close to a physical fulfillment. He shares what he knows as our fellow traveler, and not as a guide who would like to find acolytes.
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