A. J. KAUFMANN / BILL SHUTE, BEYOND THE BLUE ROCKS: MEDITATIONS ON THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD.
This may well be the last poetry A. J. Kaufmann worked on in Poland before his recent move to Berlin. In fact, we did the final pre-publication edit with A.J. checking in from various Berlin internet cafes and bars. We spent about 3 months on this, and we’re both quite proud of it. A sequence of 10 poems, investigating themes and extending imagery found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
While there are an infinite number of ways for poets to work with spiritual themes, two that I’ve always found fruitful are that found in the Prophetic Books of William Blake where language is stretched and bent and charged and over-loaded to make it express, or at least echo, the inexpressible; and at the other end of the spectrum, that found in the work of the American colonial poet Edward Taylor, where plain, everyday images are used metaphorically to evoke spiritual truths, also making the point that “everything that is, is holy.” A. J. and I decided to mix those two approaches in this piece, also throwing in a bit of the incantatory Ginsberg-esque dynamism, and some Frank Samperi/Philip Whalen-esque close, minimal observation. The end result is BEYOND THE BLUE ROCKS: MEDITATIONS ON THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD.
Beyond chance, beyond ego. Beyond the blue rocks.
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My next project is also a collaboration, this time with my old pal Zachary C. Bush, relocated to NY/NJ from Georgia and thriving there both personally and artistically. I expect that book, SHANTI, to be ready in December.
A. J. and I are talking about a blues-based collaborative project for early next year—-we’ll see how that develops. Until then, try BEYOND THE BLUE ROCKS, a juxtaposition of different voices, different styles, different angles of vision, different roads leading to the same horizon.