poems by Bruce Beasley
paper / 72 pp. / $16.00
Distributed to the trade by Itasca Books
952-223-8373 / email@example.com
Publication Date: May 2, 2023
ABOUT THE BOOK
Suppose the shreds of our prayers and of our faiths could themselves become a radical new form of devotion. Bruce Beasley confronts the apocalyptic zeitgeist of our time (political turmoil, societal division and isolation, spiritual despair, environmental catastrophe) and the crisis of faith in the human future. These poems make of the vocabulary of doubt a strange kind of sermon, summoning into chorus Heraclitus, Zeno, the Buddha, Roget’s Thesaurus, ancient prayers and hymns and scriptures, and an AI chatbot. In these fractured and ecstatic psalms, Beasley makes his ruptured way toward a faith that relies not on dogmas and creeds, but on a broken utterance for a torn and living faith.
"With the poet, we wager that a God who answers to many names will accept all manner of supplication. But our prayers say something about us, do something in us, Beasley believes."
—Aarik Danielsen, Fare Forward
"In Prayershreds, Bruce Beasley approaches prayer with a postmodern sensibility, but without irony—a rare combination. Or the irony is disarmed in wonder, a wide-eyed wonder equally accustomed to postures of terror and pleasure, of ecstasy and dismay. [...] I have never read a book more richly concerned with language-in-prayer, with prayer-in-language. It speaks with ancient knowledge, and yet somehow its song is wholly new."
—G. C. Waldrep
"As a fan of Bruce Beasley’s earlier work, I am glad to see this volume of new verse in which he makes an even deeper dive into the nature of language. Like E. E. Cummings and James Joyce, Beasley is a poet of language, someone who loves words so deeply he can’t resist wrestling with them, sometimes syllable by syllable. Admitting that he often wanders 'off-trail, far into words,' he makes us see anew the language we use every day and too often take for granted."
"The intellectually prodigious poet Bruce Beasley is uncannily wired to perceive, fracture, and reshape the sonic cosmos of language, particularly the language of prayer (praise, thanksgiving, petition), with an acuity that is both feverish and reverent. One thinks of Hopkins on psilocybin, the Psalmist translating the Dhammapada. Our iconoclastic guide through this antic, homophone-driven, thesaural minefield of the discourse of belief and unbelief is as conversant with AI chatbots as with the Biblical gospels."
—Lisa Russ Spaar
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bruce Beasley is the author of eight previous poetry collections, including All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, 2017), Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012), and The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007). He has received The University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award, The Colorado Prize for Poetry, and The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award.
Seam-fray off phlox & dry hollyhocks
a scorchmark on pavement
these summer days sick
of unseen unseeable omnium dis-
reign of unrain
some unnamable seeming
semblances of mystic/
off your dog Orion hazed
desymboling August moon
mon semblable blasé
& blah’d away sine qua
sun-stunned & samemaimed
plagued and wildfire-rained and decades-long war
surrendered and faces re-mask-choked
chokechained Sirius’s singed & dog & doggéd song-
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