The Beauty Between Words is Available
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: Water Forest Press
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DENNIS PATRICK SLATTERY & CHRIS PARIS, THE BEAUTY
BETWEEN WORDS, SELECTED POEMS
ISBN 13: 978-0-9843602-3-9 ISBN 10: 0-9843602-3-9
Perfect bound 256 pages 6x9 #70 smooth creme paper
Copyright 2010 Dennis Patrick Slattery & Chris
Preview this book.
The Beauty Between Words
is a stunning book of mytho-poetry;
elegant, rich and delicious inside and out.
Dennis Patrick Slattery and
Chris Paris have merged minds to create a unique blend
of beautiful and graceful writing.
Between Words is a remarkable achievement in its
the reweaving of Psyche’s mythic tale. One marvels that
it retells a great, yet timely journey of reunion in
deepening self by clothing the graces, muses and our
fates in the language of fresh threads. It is
soul-making at its finest.
From the Foreword of The
Beauty Between Words:
The sound that hides in our words is a poetry of
grace and grace is like a reed trimmed to fit into the
tight sounds that form the shape of a poetry’s inner
life. Poetic life is more than craft. It is soul food.
And so it is with the song in the reed fitting the
poetry of psyche to a moist word. A reed’s desire plays
a moist word. Likewise will many reeds desire the moist
sound woven just so to craft a basket form and this form
might then be imagined the shape of grace’s house;
grace’s house is home to the pattern of the weave.
‘Grace’s house’ has just become a personified notion.
Likewise is the desire of many reads’ desire were the
psyche of such a poetry’s desire now to be shared. And
were it worn from within the way it were woven and shown
worn, if its ‘space’ were suddenly to appear properly
thinned through the systole and diastole of daily life,
if the vale in soul-making were of a sudden salience
when, to surfaces, given surface, the experience of the
poetry of this psyche might then be likened to “jazz”.
This is just what I’m suggesting with regards The Beauty
Between Words. I’m suggesting the language of jazz, the
language of soul food is at work. I’m suggesting The
Beauty Between Words is jazz poetry.
The jazz language of great jazz (as every great jazz
musician knows) is found in the pattern that plays in
between any two of its beats. This brings me to my
second point with regards The Beauty Between Words. I
suggest the reader resist any attempt at synthesis
between the twin poetic works contained in the poetry
volume. Leave a space for the poetry’s jazz to play you.
That space is important. It is where the language of
jazz really is when in poetic play. It is in between the
beats coming alive where the poetry sounds. And you
don’t have to take that sound literally. It is a
soundless sound…like the one the poet hears and imitates
changing the poem to fit the audience to the felt-sense
each time he or she performs it.
This is a key point jazz-poet, Chris Paris makes in his
introduction to the poetry of grace in the second part
of this book. Poetry is originally performed in Homer’s
time and not simply read silently or aloud. The muses of
Grace’s house are originally three and nine. Bards like
Homer work in between the oral/aural and written word
and these three, Melete, Mneme and Aoide, derive not
from mythology as do the nine but from this kind of
The practice being practiced, i.e. the ‘practicing’ at
work playing through a poet’s craft is a remembering and
singing through in a return to source. Such is the way
to Grace’s house. You are trying to be re-membered where
the song is calling itself into being through your own
be-ing like a bird calls a song through the body of
itself (or the great god Pan, the reed) and the bird’s
song and the reed’s song surface ‘embodied’. That is
like the basket surfaces in the hands of the great
weaver, Evagrius in the poem, “Evagrius The Weaver”.
…he trimmed the reeds, made some coil
into tight sounds of a basket’s shape…and soon
because he had made so many
it was finished.
This also might be more to the point mytho-poet, Dennis
Slattery makes in his introduction where he says he is
thinking less about the pedigree of the muses and more
about an experience of them.
I want also to speak to my having used the mytho-poetic
method described in the introduction to the poetry of
Professor Slattery. I did meander and drift; I did
experience an important correspondence I would have
missed. It did cause me to take up a certain poetic
line… word… phrase and…
like a sand painting of the Navajos
or a rug or colored dash of cloth from
an Indian market;
One thread hangs loose…
a pause that stretches to 6 days. “Life Span of a
Suppose two threads hang loose? Suppose one is mythic
and the other is god-space like is Olympos to Greek
antiquity. Suppose this opens back yet another space, a
third not given (because the edges aren’t knotted.) The
image in the poem reminds me of the Gordian knot and the
story of the mythical King Gordius of Phrygia. Phrygia
is known for its mythical kings. King Midas is another,
in fact. Phrygia is a rich and beautiful land, part of
western Asia. But, of course, its persona is already
part of a historical fiction and the poetic one, too,
I’m telling you now.
In the historical fiction Phrygia remains without a king
until people decide to do what’s best for each alone and
they forget the beauty they share with others in the
land in between. Now a king is necessary and the King is
Gordius. He doesn’t really want to be a king. He is
country folk, drives a hay wagon and is a working man.
But, the people make him king and so he does his duty in
a clever way. He ties a knot hoping to stretch his
desire into a long pause. It works, too, until Alexander
cuts the knot and claims it doesn’t matter how a man
gains his rule.
This is the meandering I’m talking about. How does a
sand painting, a loose thread at the end of a weaving
and the knot truth of Phrygia come to belong-together in
an important way in my own psyche operating well
underneath my king in the hidden syntax of a
nonexperience? What likeness is the like?
What I began thinking about is what each does to compose
the talisman of the other world here and now that lets
me see that world. This is when the poems of Chris Paris
begin speaking back to me through the poems of Dennis
Slattery and I begin to recognize who or what is now the
subject. For when I begin to see the world through these
images the subject of the world becomes quotidian life.
The Gordian reminds me of the quotidian which reminds me
that historical fictions and poetic fictions belong
together in the everyday lives of everyday folk. You
might recall this talisman notion of mine and lay it
beside another when you get to the Paris poem,
“Talisman” toward the end of the book.
I also note how the poetic language that performs this
talisman function is a metaphorical un-knotting of the
knot-truth; it is sufficiently obscured (at first) by
poetic language and is encoded in the material
imagination of the everyday. So the mytho-poetic way is
the one thread left hanging with the power to undo me
and re-member me at the same time. And, because it is
not knotted but instead left hanging, the knot truth is
not truth but is hiding truth under its syntax left, as
it were, ‘out in the open.’
But, there are two threads to tend in my poetry reading.
And so, I turn for fresh insights to the theopoets and
theopoetic perspectives, of which I find two
perspectives worth passing along to you now. One has to
do with trinitarian imagination and the other ‘Grace’s
house’. David Miller writes in Three Faces of God:
Traces of the Trinity In Literature and Life how the
early Greeks have difficulty keeping distinct from each
other the stories of three muses, three graces and three
fates. And he says, “as if what is fated in life may be
a grace if it were mused upon”. And he goes on to say
musing life processes produce transpersonal images. He
calls these images ‘the poetizings of life.’#
Transpersonal images are poetic ones, in other
words—such an image as is ‘Grace’s house’! It is my good
fortune a theopoet has written something about Grace’s
house, something you can take with you now into your own
poetic reading of The Beauty Between Words so that you,
too, might fit your psyche’s hidden sounds into its
moist words in a poetizing way.
No blade of grass is not counted,
No blade of grass forgotten on this hill.
Twelve flowers make a token garden.
There is no path to the summit—
No path drawn
To Grace’s house. -Thomas Merton, Collected Poems
December 30, 2009
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