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New and Selected

January 31, 2020

A Glyphic House
I was thrilled to receive this new collection from my good friend and collaborator, San Francisco poet Beau Beausoleil. The sympathetic cover and interior illustrations are by the artist Andrea Hassiba, the poet’s wife, to whom the volume is dedicated. I had the privilege of writing the preface:

“This collection includes poems published over the last forty-three years, and significant new work from a long-established writer who is still breaking new ground and producing breathtaking poems.

As a poet my job is to introduce the dead to one another: the work of a lifelong poet is one of the themes running through these pages. These days bleed through my tongue and pen.

Another theme is that of light and darkness, and how close they are to each other: the light is fatal to itself, observes the poet, the sun burns itself up for light, and it is only wonder that takes me past each darkness. There is a sense of loss and complicity (we are both ruined cities carrying the fingerprints of the missing) and of horrors that, once seen, we cannot unsee (That woman cut from her skin/ That man turned out of his mind).

Beausoleil is a master of detail, finding emotional depth in everyday sights (the cracked asphalt wearing through the word STOP) and situations (in the line for stamps at the Post Office … I stand weeping for you).

On a walk to the bus stop the poet passes a group of girls with a jump-rope and sees that they are ancient storytellers never at rest. He admires their craft, their unselfconscious street-theatre: how much like poetry this is. The poet finds himself waiting for the beat that I could step into/ the arc of moving words …

This is his great skill, to enter the arc of a moment and illuminate it with the unflinching light of his small poems of blood and salt.”

– Ama Bolton 2019



2 Comments leave one →
  1. Beau Beausoleil permalink
    January 31, 2020 3:59 pm

    Dear Ama,

                         How good of you to post this!! I noticed yesterday that Waterstones, in the U.K.,  was carrying it! love, Beau

  2. January 31, 2020 10:50 pm

    Oh, that’s great news, Beau!

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