Reading from The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem, a shaman-like tale or chant for our time, speaking to the entire planet.
Since 2014, I’ve read at Crazy Wisdom Bookstore four times, for the poetry and the story-telling groups and a shaman book group; and since my epic is over 9,000 lines, I thought I’d invite people here tonight for a little longer taste of it than merely 5 or 10 minutes, for more of a sense of the story as a shaman Journey drawing from and evoking all of the great spiritual and wisdom traditions and regional civilizations.
I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness to such writers and thinkers as the historian Arnold Toynbee, Carl Jung, Huston Smith, Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, and many others of open and universal sensibility. Campbell, especially, wrote on shamanism and myth and their power to heal the tribe through a visionary experience and tale. Campbell also wrote repeatedly about the overview Image of Earthrise, rising above the horizon of the moon, as the great new mythic Image and Symbol for our time.
“Like a story around a campfire.” —From the Audience
Poetry Month, Robert Hayden, Space Traveler, & Epic Poetry Reading 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017. 1:00 – 2:30 PM. Detroit Public Library, Main Branch. 5201 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202. Fine Arts Reading Room, 3rd Floor.
In addition to speaking on Hayden and reading from some of his poems dealing with themes about outer space, Glaysher reads two excerpts from his epic poem The Parliament of Poets, in one of which Hayden is a character, the other set in a village in East Congo, where rape has been used as a weapon of war, with Sogolon, a character from the Mali epic Sundiata.
“We are one in our struggles toward perfection. And I hope that we shall always be.” —Robert Hayden, Letter to Frederick Glaysher, November 14, 1979
“Like a story around a campfire.” —From the Audience
“A great epic poem of startling originality and universal significance, in every way partaking of the nature of world literature.” —Dr. Hans-George Ruprecht, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
“A remarkable poem by a uniquely inspired poet, taking us out of time into a new and unspoken consciousness…” —Kevin McGrath, Lowell House, South Asian Studies, Harvard University
“Mr. Glaysher has written an epic poem of major importance… Truly a major accomplishment and contribution to American Letters.” —ML Liebler, Department of English, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan
“Glaysher is really an epic poet and this is an epic poem! To put this in context, in my view the last complete and true epic poem in the English Language was Paradise Lost written by John Milton in the 17th century… One can hardly congratulate him enough, then, on this achievement, since it has been so long awaited… One fabulous quality of this poem is its clarity and luminous quality. I love the fact that despite the wide ranging topographical and lexical references this poem is easy to understand and follow: it is a poet writing for people, not one trying to be clever, and not one concealing their lack of poetry in obfuscation. Glaysher has written a masterpiece… I strongly recommend Frederick Glaysher’s poem.” —James Sale (UK), The Society of Classical Poets
“And a fine major work it is.” —Arthur McMaster, Department of English, Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina
“Very intrigued by his background. I’m extremely impressed with the quality and depth of the writing. So well written. It’s almost like a stepping stone into all this world lit that people might otherwise never touch.” —R. J. Fox, Kerrytown BookFest, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sept. 11, 2016. https://Youtu.be/YDaPs1dGS4c
“Bravo to the Poet for this toilsome but brilliant endeavour.” —Umme Salma, Transnational Literature, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
A stain-glass window in the Detroit Public Library, with Apollo above Erato.
Frederick Glaysher. Reading for Poetry Month, April 22, 2017
Frederick Glaysher. Fine Arts Reading Room
YouTube Playlist – Epic Poetry Readings and Workshop. Copyright (c) 2012-2017 Frederick Glaysher.
Somehow I missed this review online in August, 2016, just stumbling on it now. A pleasure to find… a thoughtful engagement.
“I will definitely be checking out more of his work in the future (Parliament of Poets looks good). This book deals with many of the horrors and terrors of the long 20th century, and in many ways chastises the poets of this period for not finding an effective way to confront that horror.”
“…this book is quite good. It is well laid out, and does what so few collection of poems do– that is build an argument or overall claim. There are short pieces that deal with the visceral horrors of conflict, relying on powerful imagery, and then longer drawn out philosophical pieces that culminate what Glaysher has been saying.”
“The result is a collection that makes shorter, powerful jabs, followed by a prolonged punch. The reader is therefore left with the power of the poetry as the poems build on each other in rapid succession. Well written, thought out, and containing a clear purpose, I highly recommend Into the Ruins and look forward to reading Glaysher’s other works.” —Wes Bishop, Goodreads
For a selection of poems from Into the Ruins, see the first half of my poetry reading at Hannan Cafe, November 3, 2015.
At the Birmingham Unitarian Church, March 31, 2014, I read another poem from Into the Ruins, “The Crowned Maitreya,” the Buddha of the Future, Japan’s national treasure, housed in Kyoto at Koryu-ji Temple.
Interview. Kerrytown BookFest, Ann Arbor, Michigan. September 11, 2016.
Like many people in our country, I grew up in a family of several Christian denominations and secular outlook. One of my earliest memories is a family gathering at which everyone was fighting and arguing, my mother exclaiming, “Enough! We’re here to celebrate the holiday as a family!” Her wisdom has often come back to me as the years have gone by.
Despite our current culture wars, America really began in pluralism and has always been evolving beyond exclusivism, toward universality, the most profound symbol of which is the image of Earthrise from the Moon, the great symbol of our time.
At the deepest spiritual level all of the great religious and wisdom traditions agree. To solve the crises that confront us, we human beings on this planet must rediscover the spiritual vision and teachings of human oneness and unity that can bring us together and heal the traumas and conflicts of modernity. On the Moon, I believe that is possible. My hope has always been that, through an imaginative Journey, a shaman’s tale for our time, if you will, through a global epic poem, it might just be possible to help humanity heal enough to make the difference, contribute, help, at least, to encourage a peaceful vision of life on this planet.
“Very intrigued by his background. I’m extremely impressed with the quality and depth of the writing. So well written. It’s almost like a stepping stone into all this world lit that people might otherwise never touch.” Youtu.be/YDaPs1dGS4c
Epic Poetry Interview, Frederick Glaysher, Kerrytown BookFest, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Sept. 11, 2016. R. J. Fox, Interviewer and English teacher at Huron High School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
In silhouette, Frederick Glaysher reading from Into the Ruins: Poems, The Bower of Nil: A Narrative Poem, and The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem. Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), Michigan. International Book Fair. South Asian Students Association. October 28, 2016. 19 minutes.