How Beautiful the Beloved

Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr explores the divine ache of living and loving in this equable, full-bodied, and flowing collection. Through his concise, perfectly formed poems, he wakes us to the ecstatic possibilities of recognizing and risking love, of pain transformed to beauty. His central message is joy—the urge to say yes—with each poem revealing a brief moment of happiness or longing, another moment of living in the arms of the beloved. How Beautiful the Beloved chronicles not only the body of the beloved but also his or her mind, heart, and totality. Orr writes, “Not many of them, it’s true, / But certain poems / … bring us back / Always to the beloved.”

ISBN: 9781556592836

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Gregory Orr is the author of twelve collections of poetry, most recently The Last Love Poem I Will Ever Write (Norton 2019). Milkweed Editions recently reissued his memoir, The Blessing (2019). His prose books include A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry (Norton, 2018) and Poetry as Survival (University of Georgia Press, 2002). At the Dodge Poetry Festival in 2018, he premiered a fifty-minute song/poem cycle, “The Beloved,” with the Parkington Sisters. He’s been interviewed by Krista Tippett for …

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“[A] confident, mystical, expansive project.” —Publishers Weekly

“[D]azzling and timeless… [Orr’s] focus is so unwaveringly aimed toward the transcendent—not God, but the beloved—that we seem to slip into a less cluttered time.” —Virginia Quarterly Review, Editor’s Choice

“The direct lucidity of these lines, and of the entire book for that matter, is as marvelously refreshing and bold, even in its gentleness—as challenging, sly, and wise—as any work recently published in the US.” —Slope

“… magnetic poems that open the world of lyrical verse to the larger questions of what is true and timeless.” —Bloomsbury Review

“Orr’s poetry is, if anything else, refreshing… The poems themselves are as Frost said they must be: momentary stays against confusion. That Orr chooses to color his insights with classical human values is a cry in the wilderness for sanity.” —Bookslut

“Throughout his long career, Gregory Orr has written poetry to be a personal vehicle to climb out of grief, to make sense of inexplicable events, to explain the most sorrowful of consequences. For us, however, this new work does this and much more: it enlightens and illuminates our short time on this earth.” —Solar Mirage

“Mary Oliver calls him ‘… a Walt Whitman without an inch of Whitman’s bunting or oratory.’ In these pages, he is more nearly a modern-day Rumi. This is not primarily a poetry of image, but of ideas, perfectly distilled. Orr brings together the monumental themes of love and loss in small, spare, and exquisite koan-like poems.” —Foreword