For immediate release 
September 10, 2022

Kira Houston, Outreach Coordinator
828.350.8484 |

Poetry Reading: Jeffery Beam
Thursday, October 20, 2022
at 7 PM
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center {120 College Street}

Reminiscent of Eastern Bhakti love poetry, and Western Troubadour and Green Man traditions, Verdant recounts a mid-life passage within a shadowed natural landscape of intense physical and spiritual longing.

At the age of 42, queer poet Jeffery Beam fell in love with a younger man, threatening his then 15-year relationship. These poems were born of that spiritual alchemical blaze, and its substantial healing power. The poet-lover’s sacred quest through heartbreak, suffering, grief, and regret, progresses ultimately to a joyful ecstatic reunion with the Beloved Divine. A mini-essay, “Don’t Forget Love: Sacred Longing’s Dark Project”, further illuminates the actual, mythological, and spiritual origins of the poems, and describes the poet’s lifetime search through experience, teachings, and literature, to a condition in which Desire and Love enrich instead of subsume the Self.

What could be more important than a love poem? These by Jeffery Beam are gorgeous, rich, and wise. I’m reminded how the thinnest membrane separates rapture from heartbreak, how both the human realm and the insect kingdom are awash with love. Beam’s poems flicker between Mirabai and the evening cricket, between Rilke and the night-clad firefly. Look close. Look close again!

-Andrew Schelling, author of Love and the Turning Seasons: India’s Poetry of Spiritual and Erotic Longing

As in the best wisdom literature, these are poems where opposites are reconciled; light and dark unite while presence and absence become one. Here, we are often in the liminal space of evening, where we are called to see “things that escape/ strong long-sighted people.” Above all, these are poems of tenderness and hope, and we are assured that all those who share our grief are “knitting the holes with their loves.” “Listen!” the speaker exhorts us, and we know we will hear what we most need to hear.

-Margaret MacKinnon, author of The Invented Child

Jeffery Beam’s work hailed for its “transcendent, lush beauty, its minimal sacrament, simplicity and physicality” fuses through Gnostic intention the physical and spiritual worlds, creating a conversation between the natural world, the body, and the spirit.

He is the author of Spectral Pegasus / Dark Movements, a collaboration with Welsh painter Clive Hicks-Jenkins (Kin Press, 2019); the online chapbook Don’t Forget Love (2018, Dispatches from the Poetry Wars); Beam co-edited The Lord of Orchards: Jonathan Williams at 80 — a Jonathan Williams online feature (with Richard Owens) in 2009 for Jacket magazine which led in 2018 to an expanded book Jonathan Williams: The Lord of Orchards (Prospecta Press); and many more.