Poetry Centre

Weekly Poem for 10 June 2013

  • Theme and Invariants

    So you see I’ve begun looking after you


    looking for you


    looking for you, who would not see
    as relentlessly as I did
    what we both meant
    to end


    So that you see just as long as you’re made
    to listen
    to this lyre’s
    sedulous strain


    Whose head severed in the river-current,
    unlooked-at & still singing
    all its way downstream to Lesbos


    Not stopped looking after
    you’d already begun to look twice
    in every direction but ours


    So I turned back too, back to
    what we’d both been looking
    away from, looking


    looking after, in this
    aftermath of whatever
    we end up calling
    what we ended


    So you see
    I’ve begun
    so that you see

    (pluck and pluck of the lyre)

    So you see I’ve begun
    under the eyelids,
    silt on the singing tongue)

    looking after you

    by Bruce Beasley

    The Poetry Centre hosted a special performance poetry event last year, and the video of the show is now available on YouTube! Watch it here, and enjoy sampling the talents of some of the finest Oxford poets.

    'Theme and Invariants' is copyright © Bruce Beasley and BOA Editions, 2012, and reprinted from Theophobia (BOA, 2012).

    Notes from BOA Editions:

    Bruce Beasley's Theophobia is the latest volume in his ongoing spiritual meditation, which forms a kind of postmodern devotional poetry in a reinvention of the tradition of John Donne, George Herbert, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T.S. Eliot. The book is structured around a series of poems called 'Pilgrim's Deviations' and it forms a deviating pilgrimage through science, history, politics, and popular culture. Beasley interrogates the theological, metaphysical, scientific, and political worlds of our time in a continually disrupted catechism, a 'catechismus interruptus.'

    Bruce Beasley grew up in Macon, Georgia, and studied at Oberlin College (B.A., 1980), Columbia University (M.F.A., 1982), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D., 1993). He is the author of six previous collections of poems, including The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007), Lord Brain (winner of the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award, 2005), and Summer Mystagogia, selected by Charles Wright for the 1996 Colorado Prize for Poetry. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Artist Trust and three Pushcart prizes, and his work appears in The Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Bellingham, Washington, with his wife the poet and nonfiction writer Suzanne Paola and their son Jin, and is a professor of English at Western Washington University. His latest collection Theophobia (BOA, 2012) is now available at BOA's site here, where you can also read another poem from the collection, 'From "Having Read the Holy Spirit's Wikipedia"'. You can also find out more about Bruce Beasley's work from his website.

    BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publisher of poetry and other literary works, fosters readership and appreciation of contemporary literature. By identifying, cultivating, and publishing both new and established poets and selecting authors of unique literary talent, BOA brings high quality literature to the public. Support for this effort comes from the sale of its publications, grant funding, and private donations. In 2011, BOA celebrated its thirty-fifth anniversary. To find out more about BOA Editions, click here. You can also sign up for the publisher's newsletter here, find and like BOA on Facebook, and follow the publisher on Twitter by searching for @boaeditions.

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