I have been reading Greg Orr's new book, Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved. I am totally blown away by this. It is a 197-page long poem sequence in five parts, that revolves around the idea of the "Beloved" as a kind of "Book" that is also the "World." It is breathtaking, and simple at the same time. Almost as if it were written by the love child of Walt Whitman (think the bold expansiveness of Leaves of Grass) and Li Po (think of the intricate minimal-ness of the most perfect poems of the Tang dynasty).
Here is a tiny sample:
"Who wants to lose the world,
For all its tumult and suffering?
Who wants to leave the world,
For all its sorrow?
And so I come to the Book,
Which is also the body
Of the beloved."
"To be alive: not just the carcass
But the spark.
That's crudely put, but . . .
If we're not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?"
It is hard to excerpt this long and fascinating poem. It builds by accumulation and repetition of the themes. You can open it anywhere, and reap richly. You can read it forwards, backwards, every other page, and it is still the same book. Which I think is a quite a feat. And for anyone who knows what a loss is the loss of a beloved, this book provides succor and sustenance.