Gregory Orr, Concerning the
Book That Is the Body of the Beloved, Copper Canyon Press, IBSN 1-55659-229-9, 197 pages,
In his ninth collection of poetry,
Concerning the Book That is the Body of Beloved, Greg Orr develops
themes first hinted at in his previous book Orpheus and Eurydice.
While that book was a recasting of the Greek myth about the ultimate
relinquishment of an unattainable love, his new book speaks to the mysteries
of everlasting life and love through words, a prolonged love song to the
world and our many beloveds as we pass the time given us on earth.
Greg Orr’s work has always been firmly
rooted in image and known for its clear language and firm step. This hold
true from his early works fueled by the personal tragedies in his life to
the later volumes of a mature poet exploring his place in world,
relationship to loved ones, and his own mortality. The current book is no
exception. It is composed of many short poems that make up one long poem on
subjects that are beyond the definitiveness of the everyday, but yet are
about the everyday. He moves sure-footed through the emotional states of
his life opening a window for the reader into a mystical vision of love,
loss, and redemption.
This is an ambitious book that speaks
in a quiet voice about the issues that are most profound in each of our
lives. Its remarkableness lies in its simplicity and approachability. Its
vision is as broad and encompassing as Whitman, but its language is focused
and intimate. It deserves a place on every poet’s bookshelf, and is a book
that will be read several times a year from cover to cover.
© Jim Doss
Loch Raven Review Winter 2005 Vol. I, No. 2
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