Review #29: ‘Theophobia’ by Bruce Beasley

Bruce Beasley
  • COLDFRONT RATING: four-half
  • PUBLISHED BY: BOA Editions, 2012
  • REVIEW BY: Timothy Liu


In his latest book, Bruce Beasley continues his spiritual syntactical inquest by admitting to God: “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 is / is You . . .” As mindful of each syllabic vocable scaling down enjambments pregnant with immaculate pause as the late Gustaf Sobin, rather than celebrate the immanent mundane per se, Beasley affirms the Awful Presence through defiant acts of liturgical logos, evoking Gethsemane: “No-Longer-Being, drip / heavier on me, as // around us on a rain-ripped spiderweb / what never came to be / squirms and colliquesces, // like the dragonfly my son fed into it, / disintegrated, wing-wadded, / dangling // by one jerking, thrice-wrapped leg.” Witness our maker in poem after poem working out salvation by the sweat of his fevered brow.

Disclosures: For over 25 years, Beasley’s antinomian sermons have renewed my faith in the Art.

Favorites: Having Read the Holy Spirit’s Wikipedia, Self-Portrait in Ink, Extremophilic Magnificat, To Revoke All Codicils Heretofore Made by Me.

Read Beasley in Virginia Quarterly Review via Poetry Daily.