Suppose the shreds of our prayers and of our faiths could themselves become a radical new form of devotion. In Prayershreds, Bruce Beasley confronts the apocalyptic zeitgeist of our time (political turmoil, societal division and isolation, spiritual despair, environmental catastrophe) and the crisis of faith in the human future. These poems make of the vocabulary of doubt a strange kind of sermon, summoning into chorus Heraclitus, Zeno, the Buddha, Roget's Thesaurus, ancient prayers and hymns and scriptures, and an AI chatbot. In these fractured and ecstatic psalms, Beasley makes his ruptured way toward a faith that relies not on dogmas and creeds, but on a broken utterance for a torn and living faith.
Bruce Beasley is the author of eight previous poetry collections, including All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, 2017), Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012), and The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems (University of Washington Press, 2007). He has received The University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award, The Colorado Prize for Poetry (selected by Charles Wright), The Ohio State University Press/The Journal Award, fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Artist Trust of Washington, and three Pushcart Prizes.
"One thinks of Hopkins on psilocybin, the Psalmist translating the Dhammapada. Our iconoclastic guide through this antic, homophone-driven, thesaural minefield of the discourse of belief and unbelief is as conversant with AI chatbots as with the Biblical gospels." - Lisa Russ Spaar
"As a fan of Bruce Beasley's earlier work, I am glad to see this volume of new verse in which he makes an even deeper dive into the nature of language. Like E. E. Cummings and James Joyce, Beasley is a poet of language, someone who loves words so deeply he can't resist wrestling with them, sometimes syllable by syllable." - Kathleen Norris
"In Prayershreds, Bruce Beasley approaches prayer with a postmodern sensibility, but without irony—a rare combination. Or the irony is disarmed in wonder, a wide-eyed wonder equally accustomed to postures of terror and pleasure, of ecstasy and dismay. [. . .] I have never read a book more richly concerned with language-in-prayer, with prayer-in-language. It speaks with ancient knowledge, and yet somehow its song is wholly new." - G. C. Waldrep