On Friday, September 30th Hiraeth Press will celebrate the release of our final title of 2011: Night, Mystery & Light by J.K. McDowell. Hearkening to such mystic poets as Rumi and Hafiz, McDowell writes in an adapted ghazal form established by the poet Robert Bly. This poetic form, somewhat obscure in this modern age, usually visits the themes of grief and finding love and beauty in life despite the pains of the losses we suffer. Read an excerpt from the Forward written by Tom Cowan, author of Yearning for the Wind and Fire in the Head to learn his thoughts on McDowell’s unique voice.
“One characteristic of the ghazal is that the poet’s name sometimes appears in the last verse. McDowell often ends his poems with a challenge to “Jim,” a question usually asking him to make sense of his life. . . . we overhear this final question as if it were directed at us. One of the joys of reading McDowell’s poetry is precisely this that his questions urge us to make deeper sense of our own lives. You will discover, along with him, the almost seamless way the ordinary and non-ordinary realities of our soul’s deep dreaming support and create a multi-layered world to live in. It is a world that intrigues us while reading the poem and that lingers long after we lay the poem aside.” —Tom Cowan, from the foreword of Night, Mystery & Light
Preview a selection from Night, Mystery & Light
So tell me, did you pray that this day would come?
The Beloved will bring you farther and further
Than this. Make ready my Friend for the next embrace!
Early sunlight sweeps the kitchen quiet. Beyond
The window bees buzz on some flowering bush.
Footsteps come with fresh picked blueberries for breakfast.
A Gift? Here, I give you these tears from my eyes.
Sweet as dreams of Peace, quickly taste them, they dry so fast.
Elsewhere the coastline disappears without a word.
The palms touch lightly, the head bows slightly, the
Eyes close tightly. Hope does not deny that victory
And defeats are assured – Sacred battle awaits.
Careful, many of the things in your field of vision
Look back and sometimes into you. The eyes turned
Inward or outward can be doorways to the Soul.
You never told me Jim, how you chose the river rocks.
In silence Virginia filled her pockets.
Smooth, heavy, reassured for the sinking.
We will be posting more previews of Night, Mystery & Light over the coming days leading up to the release on the 30th. Be sure to check back. For more information about J.K. McDowell’s work visit his blog here: www.nightmysteryandlight.wordpress.com