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
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.
I enjoyed participating in the Ann Arbor Book Festival on June 18, 2016, and appreciate everyone who stopped by, just chatted, as well as bought books. I hope you enjoy your Journey to the Moon… It was a pleasure to sign my epic poem for a number of people.
I’m looking forward to repeating the experience next year!
Life becomes a Borges story. For a few months I’ve been reading and writing about Jorge Luis Borges. This afternoon, tidying up my study, I stumbled upon a used paperback copy of Borges On Writing, 1973, which I bought in Ann Arbor, Michigan, during the winter, and sat down to read it. His signature is on the title page! It looks a lot like this one online for $31,000!
Surreal, South American magic fiction kind-of-thing… Of the couple of thousand books I have, I’ve never found any other signed copies… of the thousands of books I’ve read from libraries during my life I’ve never stumbled onto a signed copy… and then to find the only one that is signed by someone I’ve been thinking and writing about for months is strange. I like to think I’m largely a rational person, realizing it’s merely coincidence, but it’s still surreal, given all his surreal, bizarre stories and poems…
The same flourishes of the “g,” capital “B,” and his characteristic upside down “T” at the end. What does that signify? Some transcendent symbol? A mystic alef of his mind? A shakiness in the cramped hand, blindly struggling to sign the book held in the air, held inches from the eye, the way Bob used to? Another blind master…
Why do writers and artists always have to die before their work starts fetching these kinds of prices? Some crude, bourgeois calculation involved.
After the 1973 publication of Borges On Writing, he was at Michigan State University twice, in 1975 and 1976, the latter for a full semester, during which he spoke or read at other colleges in Michigan. It’s doubtful that the opportunity wouldn’t have arisen for Borges to read at the University of Michigan, my alma mater, and the major, international university of the state, in Ann Arbor. A student or faculty member, working his or her way up the line, for his signature, a signed copy, unknown to his family or heirs, forgotten, dumped into one of Ann Arbor’s many used book shops, for a few bucks… or a student, as poor as I was once, needing a meal…
“Uncanny,” as a Facebook friend has said. The word surreal keeps swirling around in my head… For some reason, Borges’ story “The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim” has also kept coming to mind, since my discovery, his search for Attar’s Simurgh, which all connects intimately with a poem I’ve been writing.
There are times when the intuition can surpass and lead aright the rational mind. Perhaps a fellow writer can help us more than we are able to understand, reach out even from across the grave… how non-modern, how contrary to our quotidian, rational assumptions, modernity’s cliches and distortions, petty pieties.
Through the mirror, through the mirror, to the next continent, somehow, through the mirror…
Frederick Glaysher discusses the book The World’s Parliament of Religions, 1893, and key influential speakers and groups represented at The Parliament in Chicago, including Vivekananda, Brahmo Samaj, the Unitarian Church, and the Theosophical Society. Continue reading →
Epic Poetry Reading, Frederick Glaysher, Farmhouse Frederick Glaysher reading two excerpts from The Parliament of Poets: An Epic Poem, at The Farmhouse, Village of Franklin, Michigan. March 22, 2018. Hosted and Introduced by the poet Diane DeCillis. On the moon, … Continue reading →
We human beings on this planet need a new vision and understanding of life, to help bring us together, to see and feel and understand our common humanity, to step back from the brink of self-destruction. From the Moon, together, we can see it, a new global, universal vision of life. Continue reading →