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Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems

Overview

Poetry arises from the search for sacred language that describes the awe and mystery of the real world.  Deena Metzger is a contemporary poet who has aligned herself with this ancient tradition. This collection, that includes selections from her earlier books of poetry – Dark Milk, The Axis Mundi Poems, Looking For the Faces of God , A Sabbath Among the Ruins and Skin:Shadows/Silence draws on her life’s work, more than forty years of devotion to the word, and aligns itself with such a quest for meaning that ...

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Overview

Poetry arises from the search for sacred language that describes the awe and mystery of the real world.  Deena Metzger is a contemporary poet who has aligned herself with this ancient tradition. This collection, that includes selections from her earlier books of poetry – Dark Milk, The Axis Mundi Poems, Looking For the Faces of God , A Sabbath Among the Ruins and Skin:Shadows/Silence draws on her life’s work, more than forty years of devotion to the word, and aligns itself with such a quest for meaning that has increasing urgency because of the spiritual and political ruins of our time.  It is no longer sufficient, she believes, for the poet to be an unacknowledged legislator of the world, for the committed poet is called to engage with full heart in the continuous activity of restoration on behalf of beauty, wisdom and the natural world.  Here we meet the articulate voices of the otherwise silenced, the voices of the animals, the land and the elementals, rain, wind fire and earth, and our responsibility to them.  This book combines a searing look at the horrors that we permit, the anguish of human cruelty, brutality, and indulgence, but carrying the fierce determination to live, act, and write on behalf of the soul in all its manifestations. In this collection, despair is acknowledged but not indulged, as Metzger engages in the meticulous task of reconstructing a world, informed by the past and history as language demands, but, extracting ourselves from its violence and caprices, looking toward a viable future and all its unexpected possibilities.

Poetry arises from the search for sacred language thatdescribes the awe and mystery of the realworld.Deena Metzger is a contemporarypoet who has aligned herself with this ancient tradition. This collection, thatincludes selections from her earlier books of poetry – , and draws on her life’swork, more than forty years of devotion to the word, and aligns itself withsuch a quest for meaning that has increasing urgency because of the spiritualand political ruins of our time.It isno longer sufficient, she believes, for the poet to be an unacknowledgedlegislator of the world, for the committed poet is called to engage with fullheart in the continuous activity of restoration on behalf of beauty, wisdom andthe natural world.Here we meet thearticulate voices of the otherwise silenced, the voices of the animals, theland and the elementals, rain, wind fire and earth, and our responsibility to them.This book combines a searing look at thehorrors that we permit, the anguish of human cruelty, brutality, andindulgence, but carrying the fierce determination to live, act, and write onbehalf of the soul in all its manifestations. In this collection, despair isacknowledged but not indulged, as Metzger engages in the meticulous task ofreconstructing a world, informed by the past and history as language demands,but, extracting ourselves from its violence and caprices, looking toward aviable future and all its unexpected possibilities.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This collection is as much a gathering of souls as it is an array of soft and dazzling poems. Deena Metzger is a sentinel against silence, reminding us with each offering how blessed we are to be able to die of beauty, how we can have rain in the midst of the rubble, how to have rain and begin again.

- Ariel Dorfman

To what the poet witnesses, Deena Metzger adds nothing but the light of her imagination, whose like has not visited the West since Lawrence encountered snakes there. In her, imagination is the practice of holy recognition of each thing she observes and the act of discovering and communicating the hidden order of things.

- Marc Kaminsky

You will be surprised. Deena’s Metzger’s poetry is well known in California, but it ought to be known throughout the world. And hopefully now with this extraordinary volume it will be. Here are beautiful poems, nuanced and yet in their own way, ferociously truthful, with a wonderful music, both plain speaking and spell binding. I recommend this magic. If as a poet I have long believed that poetry can save the world,  what I want to say now is: this poetry can save the world.

- Susan Griffin. Author of Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy and A Chorus of Stones

Deena Metzger has spent a life in fierce devotion to the words and action that cut through to where spirit still resides in the ruins of our shattered world.  In RUIN AND BEAUTY, Deena gifts us with poems that serve as life preservers. This is a singular vision honed over a lifetime of devotion to words and action, love and wisdom.  I can imagine seekers carrying this book five centuries from now and reciting these poems, much as we do Kabir and Rumi and Hafiz, to keep the spirit alive under daunting conditions.

- Edward Tick
Author, WAR AND THE SOUL
Founder/Director Soldier's Heart

"Did you think The Presence would fail to leave a scar?" asks Deena Metzger in RUIN AND BEAUTY. She's a poet of visionary questions: "Can the world/heal/in this body?" And the stakes she plays for are high. Her new and much-anticipated book is tense with numinous presences: Neruda, Georg Trakl, the Chumash. But the arc is Metzger's alone: the hard-won serenity and desperations of an exemplary life. She's a poet who has faced contingency and lives in a world of final things--a deeply earned knowledge underpins this book, "that we should be met this way/that our appetitite/should be rewarded/with such grace....'

- Dennis Nurkse

This extraordinary collection of poems is written by a woman who has spent a lifetime travelling to the center of the unconscious.   Deena Metzger enters the darkest of moments and always comes back singing.   She is teacher and healer, she is both guide and woman warrior.

Ruin and Beauty is an extraordinary book.   Here, Metzger listens to animals, trees, rocks, oceans--she has learned their language well.   She converses with other poets.   She walks with sorrow and joy as companions, over deserts, through thickets, woods, and fields.

I am awestruck by what she knows.   This is a prayerbook, a long letter to the gods, a secret conversation with the animal kingdom.   She is trying to save us all.   The passion in these poems burns holes in my mind.   Metzger opens the door through which a multitude can enter.   If you follow her, you will be changed by this journey, but you will learn many secrets of the universe, and perhaps you will find hope for the future as well.

- Judith Minty

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781597094252
  • Publisher: Red Hen Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Deena Metzger is a poet, novelist, essayist, storyteller, teacher, healer and medicine woman who has taught and counseled for over forty years. She is the author of many books, including most recently, From Grief into Vision: A Council (Hand to Hand, 2007); Doors: A fiction for Jazz Horn (Red Hen Press, 2005); The Other Hand (Red Hen Press, 2000); and Tree: Essays and Pieces (North Atlantic Books, 1997).

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

A Note on Ruin and Beauty by Peter Levitt

FROM THE FIRST TEN 

1.                        My Plant

 Bright Omens

2.                        Augury

3.                        The Great Elm That Used To Be

4.                        Fire Over Wood

5.                        O Love My Enemy Bite Your Bitter Root

6.                        Gacela of Deer and Shovel

7.                        Between the Worlds

8.                        Sometimes Afraid of the Ignoble End

9.                        No Words For Rumi

10.                    Calling the Wind

11.                    Bread Offerings

12.                    Expecting to Get Snowed In

13.                    Gulls

14.                    Pelican Island

15.                    Thirteen Dark Moons

16.                    Under the Sorrow Tree

17.                    The Midnight Sun

THE DARK ANIMAL GODS

18.                    Icon

19.                    Wild

20.                    Moon in Taurus

21.                    Cows

22.                    Breaking Ground

23.                    Burning the Night

24.                    Carry the Burning Teeth in My Two Good Breasts

25.                    Afternoon

26.                    Do Poems Have Gender or Sex?

27.                    Succubus

28.                    Owl

29.                    Heat

30.                    Maguey

31.                    Honey to Honey

32.                    Raspberries

33.                    I wrote My Lover A Letter Without Words

34.                    Watching Michael Roar

35.                    What Feeds Us

36.                    Hungry Every Morning

37.                    When You Marry a Young Man

38.                    Vows

39.                    The Work to Know What Life Is

40.                    Ruminations

 SERVICE AT THE EARTH ALTAR

41.                    Oh Great Spirit

42.                    Akasha

43.                    The Buddha of the Beasts

44.                    Do Not Tell Me What You Know

45.                    Bears in the Snow

46.                    Losses

47.                    At the Summit

48.                    What Shakes Me

49.                    Alchemy

50.                    Four of Stones: The Power of the Earth

51.                    Leavings

52.                    Someone Remembers The Colors of Birds

53.                    In the Morning    Walking

54.                    Opening All the Doors to the Rain

55.                    Vulture Medicine

56.                    Vultures

57.                    Mandlovu

 TREES WALKING TO WATER

58.                    She Brings Forth Green Leaves

59.                    The Trees Ask Me Home

60.                    Out of Old Wood Long Season

61.                    Who Lives in the Tree

62.                    Beech /Asherah

63.                    Light on the Old Pine

64.                    The Old Ones

65.                    Shadow of Fern

Singing to the Dead

66.                    I Can See the Dead Crossed Limbs

67.                    Bird Calls

68.                    Dreaming the Road

69.                    Silence For My Father

70.                    Thorn

71.                    Who Knows What Thirst is For

72.                    At Kealakekua Bay

73.                    The Cave

74.                    Ice of Hope

75.                    No Roots Are Mine

76.                    Feasting the Dead

77.                    Cathleen Ni Houlihan Burke

78.                    Calling A Mother With Advice for the Duat

79.                    The Death of the Wolf

80.                    When I am Dying

81.                    It’s Time

Walking With Neruda

82.                    Walking With Neruda

83.                    Speaking With Neruda

84.                    Something In the Belly

85.                    The Earth of Pablo Neruda

86.                    Exploring With Neruda

87.                    Pablo Speaks about the Girl

88.                    The Winter of Pablo Neruda

89.                    She Laments The Death of Neruda

90.                    Burying Our Dead, Pablo Neruda

 HIDDEN LIGHT

91.                    Hidden Light

92.                    Lights Like Stars

93.                    Might There Be a Thousand Words For Light

94.                    Moon Song

95.                    Fires

96.                    Sun

97.                    Hawk

98.                    Sometimes in Concert with the Gods

99.                    Walking the Creek

100.                What the Trees Know

101.                The Bird In the Heart of the Tree

GATHERING AT THE GATES

102.                Moonshine

103.               Nuptials

104.                The Mystery of the Birds

105.                That Woman is Talking to Herself

106.                Desertion

107.                The Open Hand

108.                A Tree that has not Fallen

109.                Return to Earth

110.                Stands Across the Frigid Moon

111.                Become One With Me

112.                Einstein, the Lighthouse

113.                Water Falling in the Late Afternoon

114.                Naming Us By Our Eyes

 SECRET AND HIDDEN INTELLIGENCES

115.                Secret and Hidden Intelligences:  Costa Rica Journal

SHADOW LETTERS

116.                Valyermo: Naomi

117.                Cape Cod: Caitlin

118.                Cambridge: Joyce

119.                Provincetown: Barbara

120.                Provincetown: Jane

 THE DEMON COUNTRY

121.                Invocation

122.                Canta

123.                Confirmations

124.                Which of These Forms Have You Taken?

125.                Wolf Leave Tracks Now

126.                Griefmaking

127.                Endarkening

128.                Iron Horses

129.                Crimes Against Soft Birds

130.                Jehovah’s Child

131.                The Lion of Babylon

132.                Rats

133.                Threnody For Camellias.

134.                The Still Point Turning Away

135.                Defeats

136.                Because So Much New Way of Being

137.                Pelicans in the East

138.                Pelicans in the Midwest.

139.                When Paradise is Not

 River of Light

140.                A Lake In the Mind

141.                Burning Bush

142.                The Cold Sun

143.                Crazy Old Woman

144.                The Mouth of the River

145.                I Drank the Silence of God Out of the Stream in the Trees

146.                If I Had Not Known Mt. Sinai

147.                The River Does Not Turn On Itself

148.                Make Me A Vessel For Your Light

149.                Thus It is Written

150.                The Well

151.                You Come to Me In Light

152.                Love Letter to God

RUIN AND BEAUTY

153.                Ruin and Beauty

154.                Setting Out

155.                Star Walk

156.                A Sabbath Among The Ruins

157.                Not the Hammer

158.                This is How I Came to You

159.                Herons, The Shadows They Cast

160.                Return

161.                What Could Not Be Said

162.                Looking For the Faces of God

163.                A Meeting Place For the Dead

164.                The Last Word I

165.                The Last Word11

166.                The Last Word111

167.                Ruin and Beauty   The End

168.                Song

HOMAGE TO / GRATITUDE FOR

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