Reminiscent of Eastern Bhakti love poetry, and Western Troubadour and Green Man traditions, Verdant recounts a mid-life passage within a shadowed natural landscape of intense physical and spiritual longing. At the age of 42, queer poet Jeffery Beam fell in love with a younger man, threatening his then 15-year relationship. These poems were born of that spiritual alchemical blaze, and its substantial healing power. The poet-lover’s sacred quest through heartbreak, suffering, grief, and regret, progresses ultimately to a joyful ecstatic reunion with the Beloved Divine. A mini-essay, “Don’t Forget Love: Sacred Longing’s Dark Project,” further illuminates the actual, mythological, and spiritual origins of the poems, and describes the poet’s lifetime search through experience, teachings, and literature, to a condition in which Desire and Love enrich instead of subsume the Self.
Description: 64 pages, 6 x 9 inches. ISBN 978-0998929347 ~ $17.95 USD
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From the back cover
What could be more important than a love poem? These by Jeffery Beam are gorgeous, rich, and wise. I’m reminded how the thinnest membrane separates rapture from heartbreak, how both the human realm and the insect kingdom are awash with love. Beam’s poems flicker between Mirabai and the evening cricket, between Rilke and the night-clad firefly. Look close. Look close again! —Andrew Schelling, author of Love and the Turning Seasons: India’s Poetry of Spiritual and Erotic Longing
As in the best wisdom literature, these are poems where opposites are reconciled; light and dark unite while presence and absence become one. Here, we are often in the liminal space of evening, where we are called to see “things that escape/ strong long-sighted people.” Above all, these are poems of tenderness and hope, and we are assured that all those who share our grief are “knitting the holes with their loves.” “Listen!” the speaker exhorts us, and we know we will hear what we most need to hear. —Margaret Mackinnon, author of The Invented Child
Like a series of poems one might find inscribed in stone, or buried in a treasure box, Jeffery Beam, in this collection, recalls the meeting of the Lover and Beloved. At times haunting, at times, seductive, at times transcendent, the poet’s focus is both mystical and bio-energetic, his experience, both personal and mythic. In an era, when the purely mechanical threatens the very membrane of existence, we, the readers, are fortunate to have as witness, dare I say as relic, this understanding of both meeting and separation— “I don’t know where I am. Don’t Look for me.” Beam has given us a mirror—when held in the light of love, it functions as an initiatory tool. —Louise Landes Levi, translator of René Daumal and Henri Michaux, and author of The Book of L and Where I Stand in Angel