Poetic Works, in three volumes
“Ambitious poems in various genres explore the intersections
religion, psychology and cutting-edge physics.”
[Kirkus Discoveries Review. Click for full review.]
This exploration of a new cosmic consciousness spans the full spectrum of verse-writing, from haiku to long narrative poems, a libretto for a “salon opera” and a play. The fascinating and fantastic narratives (and there is a surprising number of them) often have the character of sacred epics, taking the reader into the depths of the worlds of myth and dream.
the tone is religious, sometimes humorous, or lyric, or deeply reflective.
Throughout it all, one finds that the poet is reinterpreting traditional and
ancient symbols in accord with the deepest insights of new physics and
Poetic Works adds up to a remarkable synthesis of Ultimate Nature and personal spirituality. One can easily imagine that for years to come, readers will find in this rare body of work a perennial source for personal renewal, and perhaps even a basis which can help us all to find together the way towards a more peaceful planet.
Volume One (2009, 394 pp.) ISBN 1-4392-4183-X Click for order information (Amazon.com)
Milk of Dreams, the Twentieth Century
I. Cosmic Hymn
IV. Anno Domini
VII. Jivinandra’s Voyage
III. Nousa’s Sword
IX. Et Alia
Volume Two (2009, 374 pp) ISBN
1-4392-4341-7 Click for
order information (Amazon.com)
Milk of Dreams, the Twenty-first Century
X. The Twenty-first
XI. Waiting at Epidauros
XIII. The Pond
XIV. Universe and Nuoverse
XV. Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed
XVI. Respecting God in America
XVII. Quanta of Cosmos
Volume Three (2011, 231 pp) ISBN 1-4564-6639-8 Click for order information (Amazon.com)
Four interpretive essays
Verse, Universe (2011, 83 pp) ISBN 1-4564-6146-X Click for order information (Amazon.com)
A chapbook with selections from each of the three volumes of Poetic Works, focusing on
consciousness and meaning within a new understanding of Cosmos.
On Verse and Mind
A synopsis by the author of
Bessinger: Poetic Works, in three volumes
We must talk about the world the way it is … [Heracleitos]
The poems (rather obviously) are diverse and exploratory works, developed between 1985 and 2010. The Trail, initially in prose, searches for a contemporary framework for ethics. Cosmic Hymn (section 8) provided a tag (Milk of Dreams) that stuck for the verse-writing in general. Kareol (a libretto) and Holy Space (a multimedia play) have serious themes, but were written mostly for fun.
After Ekklesia had, for the most part, put to rest the “ego-devils of the mind” (section 4), Anno Domini sought to highlight “cosmic church” in Christian symbols. In other words, this cosmic quest starts where the author started, but its subsequent works deal more generically with the psychological dynamics of symbol, metaphor, and imagery.
The dream-focus continued into the new century, especially in the major work of the two volumes, Waiting at Epidauros, which is a mystery novella in verse. Much of the content, in verses short and long, deals with the poetry inherent in the physics of cosmos, and with the idea of quantum mind. Though that idea is still highly speculative, it seems the best theory so far, by which to unify physics and psyche. Petaloudes and Universe and Nuoverse explore the idea of Planck-time ticks of cosmic energy, and the equivalence of Being and Energy, ideas which are poetically direct and simple, but which seem to be beyond the reach of experiment – thus yielding to verse the last word about the Universe! The perception of Ultimate Nature as the (w)holy Unity is already supportable by physical arguments, but “the data will keep pouring out! / Those too you’ll have to sift!” [MOD.III.4]
The books are unified in several ways, mainly by general theme (the evolving of collective consciousness), and by recurring patterns of images and names, for example, Logos (Gk: “word”), cross, the two-suns motif, and sexual metaphors for spiritual unity. Of course, these uses are neither new nor original – they are deeply embedded in spiritual traditions and sacred texts throughout mankind’s experience. That is their special claim to authenticity, extending beyond subjective experience itself. Changes in levels of mind are signaled in various ways, such as by shifts of time, scene, point of view, voice, or even more explicitly, as in Jivinandra’s Voyage and Vision, by section breaks. A newer recurring motif is that of pond, especially Hilbert’s Pond.
After Volume Two, a long-term interest in Wordsworth was rekindled, especially his The Recluse, which prompted the writing of The Return. The image of the empty chalice (Quanta of Cosmos, #4, 2::281-2) then led toward Montsalvat. Could we not find new collective meaning in Cosmos itself, and a new understanding of our role in it? Bardo Verses brings forward into contemporary verse much of the imagery of the Bardo Thödol. Other Verse collects a number if miscellaneous pieces.