Poet and book reviewer Lynn Domina delves into Bruce Beasley's Theophobia (BOA, 2012), calling it "both the sort of book I immediately gravitate to and the sort of book I ordinarily avoid ... Beasley's poems do demand an attentive reader; but they demand the sort of attention that is most pleasurable, a reader who is immersed in the questions, who is fully engaged with the language, who surrenders to the poems' guidance." Theophobia is Beasley's seventh collection, and 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." According to Domina, Beasley's poetry has come to "obsess" her. She says, "I keep imagining myself in the presence of someone who puts down the paper after every few sentences to exclaim, 'Oh my God, you’ve got to read this.'" "The poems succeed because this juxtaposition does indeed startle us toward fresh insights. Readers are presented with a mind thinking, a particularly energetic mind, one that enjoys the task. And despite my own initial hesitations, I found the poems ultimately hospitable ... I’m envious of Beasley’s agility in this book. The poems consolidate the mind with the spirit, the ordinary with the extreme, possibility with impossibility." Click here to read the entire review. To purchase your own copy of Theophobia, visit the BOA Bookstore.
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