Raleigh Rambles

John Dancy-Jones at large!

Jeffery Beam’s Gospel celebrates Earth

Jeffery Beam’s rich and varied literary contributions have been recognized here before, but his recent reading at the UNC Botanical garden was a found treasure.  He was surrounded by friends and presented not only botanical poems from his latest book, Gospel Earth , but sang, remininsced, and read favorite passages from the poets who have influenced him. Jeffery’s wonderful voice, his energy, and his exuberant love for natural beauty made his reading a meditation and a spiritual sharing.

Gospel Earth is described on the Regulator Bookstore site as a “a collection of monostitches, micropoems, American sentences, small stones, small poem sequences, & minimalist poetry.”   It begins with a plentitude of short quotes, almost all gemstones of thought from many different sources.  Just as he shared his influences in the reading, his book says up front: here I stand, the earth my image, love my fuel, all the beauty I have been given is part of me.  Those are my words and show Jeffery’s effect on one: spiritual and mindful.

Gospel Earth moves from the quotes to extremely short responses to images, many one line or even two or three words.  The literary devices are almost invisible behind the strong zen and monastic distillations of pure meaning.  The natural images shine for themselves in Jeffery’s deft and delicate frames.  The Botanical Garden says Gospel Earth is

 “a big book of little poems, [it] has already received acclaim for its transcendent, lush beauty; its minimal sacrament; and its simplicity and physicality. Described by the poet as a work intended to “invigorate the startling propulsion of haiku’s accessible simplicity and minimalism, while creating a more active canvas.”

The book does contain larger pieces, including a prose meditation on birding dedicated to Jonathan Williams (more about him below). One of my favorite pieces is a poem with notes that constitute an essay called “The Green Man’s Man.”  The poem finds Jeffery immersed in Nature but always open to the philosophical notes in her song: ” I open Nature’s book/finding:/The more I know/The less I know.”  The notes were written specifically for a different Botanical Garden event, and delve into the mythological image of the Green man.   Jeffery tells us

The Green Man is not separate from us, he is our source, emphasizing & celebrating the positive creative laws of Nature, the native intelligence that shepherds and protects this world, and the ecological rightness that guides us.

Jeffery entertains the Botanical Garden crowd as Stanley smiles

Jeffery continues to enact and support the spirit of Black Mountain College in many ways and I hope to learn more of his scholarship regarding Jonathan Williams.  He has presented numerous times about him, and is working on a bibliography.  He has also shared manuscripts and links that make it clear he is a leading authority on the man’s life and significance.

Jeffery Beam’s Jonathan Williams interview 2003

A SNOWFLAKE ORCHARD and What I Found There :  essay on The Jargon Society Press by Jeffery Beam

J. Williams obit at NCWN by J. Beam

 Another BMC link: J. B.’s Indy review of Rumaker’s Black Mountain Days

Jeffery’s website

Oyster Boy Review

Jeffery’s UNC Bio

Jeffery’s UNC Library archive

Jeffery’s feature on My Laureate’s Lasso

another feature at Jeff Davis’s Natures

Indy Review of Gospel Earth 

WUNC interview re Gospel Earth

 Gospel Earth. Jeffery Beam. Skysill Press, 3 Gervase Gardens, Clifton Village, Nottingham, NG11 8LZ, United Kingdom. http://www.skysillpress.blogspot.com/ Sam.Ward@nottingham.ac.uk

Parts of this book also existed in online and pamphlet versions:

Gospel Earth. Three color fold out booklet wrapped in Tibetan handmade paper with wrap-around band. Longhouse Press. 2006

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December 26, 2010 - Posted by | Black Mountain, literary, music | ,

2 Comments »

  1. [...] Dancy Jones has posted his review of a recent reading by out poet Jeffery Beam on his Raleigh Rambles blog, which includes links to Jeffery’s most recent collection, Gospel Earth (Skysill [...]

    Pingback by Book Buzz #24 January 2011 — Lambda Literary | January 4, 2011

  2. Hey John: Would it be ok with you if I took the photos of Jeffery Beam reading here at the Botanical Garden from this blog? The pictures I took that evening came out awful. Thanks for considering….

    Comment by Laura Cotterman | January 7, 2011


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