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Dan Beachy-Quick

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Dan Beachy-Quick, an instructor in the writing program at the School of the Art Institute, introduces his third book of poetry, Mulberry (Tupelo Press), by calling the silkworm weaving its cocoon from a single thread a metaphor for the book, a construction in which he can bide before later emerging, changed. Others bide there too, notably the Puritan diarists Beachy-Quick cites in his notes, who in America perch at the lip of a dark continent, testing their virtue, their selves, against the strange nature enveloping them. Words shift from subject to object as the poem's lines break and weave incessantly, but meaning isn't so much obfuscated as shot back from a handful of mirrors, rather as "light / on leaves glows orange and each / a sun . . . / . . . or the sun between leaves / shuts the tree into one fiery ball." But Mulberry isn't the gloom trip of some witch burner. In a rapturous finish, upon emerging from the cocoon, as it were, Beachy-Quick counters lines he quoted earlier from 17th-century cleric Thomas Traherne (refitted as "the world was made for my sake / I am but dust and bone") with a simple but hard-won "we are what light gazes on." This reading and lecture is part of the U. of C.'s Poem Present series. a Thu 3/1, 5:30 PM, University of Chicago, Rosenwald Hall, room 405, 1101 E. 58th, 773-834-8524.

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