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."
"Beasley is, above all, a poet of spiritual ardor, a dyspeptic believer in the Geoffrey Hill mode ... Writing of Donne in a recent essay, Hill insists that for a certain breed of poet, style is faith, and Beasley may well be such a writer. His many allusions to the mystical esoteric – Meister Eckart, Julian of Norwich, the Gnostic gospels, and the Corpus Hermeticim (not to mention plain old Bible verse) – are evidence not merely of Beasley’s learnedness, but also of his belief in the poem as a kind of heterodox spiritual exercise. He is a
postmodern descendant of Herbert, Traherne, and Vaughn … there are few contemporary poets who can keep such august company … Like Robert Duncan, who was also powerfully drawn to Gnostic and Hermetic thought, Beasley’s reading in mysticism has, above all, animated his lyrical acuity. He draws from these traditions not merely for their substance, but also to enhance his musical chops. And when he displays those chops, the results can be majestic … a fluency and rhetorical control that no other poet of his generation can match."
–DAVID WOJAHN, The Kenyon Review
Bruce Beasley is author of six poetry collections, most recently The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems. His other collections have won awards such as the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award, the 1996 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and the 1994 Ohio State University Press/Journal Award. He has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, and three Pushcart Prizes. His work appears in The Pushcart Book of Poetry: The Best Poems from the First Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize, as well as many other anthologies. His poems also appear widely in such journals as The Kenyon Review, Southern Review, New American Writing, Field, and Virginia Quarterly Review.
From "Having Read the Holy Spirit's Wikipedia"
Glossolalic and disincarnate, interfere
in me, interleave me
and leave me through my breathing: like some third
person conjugation I've rewhispered
in a language I keep trying to learn, a tongue
made only of irregular verbs, and all its verbs irregular.
I've been Googling You lately, for some slipped-
loose theoinwardness You've come
to mean, some comfort of Third Person
held as breath, but I can't keep
straight sometimes which one of You
there's One who fractures off from light
as light, I know, and One
(is that One You?) eternally begotten, so never not at just that instant being born.
and shiver along the nerves