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Thomas Ramey Watson 01-23-2014 08:30 AM

My new poetry book recording a soul-realm love affair, Love Threads, will be out soon
Love Threads

The poems record a series of experiences mostly in the realm of the soul that I had for over a year in the late 1990s. In its way it reflects and serves as a tribute to Donne, Herbert, Vaughan, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, and others, including those of other traditions, who have been my mentors.

I had hoped to get this book out for Christmas, but my poetry editor became very ill and is just now recovering. So it should be out for Valentine's Day, and make a great Valentine to someone you love --including yourself.

Thomas Ramey Watson 01-23-2014 03:14 PM

The Foreword to Love Threads
Foreword: The Point Where All Begins and Ends

Love Threads can be a painful book because it is about a hurtful relationship, but more important, it is a clear call to love and to love even when there is difficulty. A clear call to love spiritually and in body. It is essentially a transcendent calling, an ecstatic one—and a genuine journey of love.

These are poems whose obscurity win their way graciously with resonances that wistfully suggest sweetness and light without identifying many specifics or concrete manifestations of the sacred other. These poems make up invocations that appeal through the plausible and very humane nexus of dream, or vision, and longing. Continual hope for something solid that never appears or makes itself known in features that are not quite enough to satisfy a strong undercurrent of almost ambiguous desire. The poet makes clear his romantic trajectory in the early poems. It is not long before most readers will know where they are, as long as we are amenable to some real ambiguities of image and style. The title, “Beta” of the opening poem, seems to denote, as in physics, a variable, the speaker’s other coruscating from the first words of the book. Gentle images of dreaming the other reaching out in bed collide with the somewhat blunt and graphic biological terms of connection, an “umbilical” arrangement.

Making to clarify the iffy relationship, the second poem, “Aboriginal,” proves the speaker believes the lover more in spirit than in person. The beloved declares a need for the freedom of love so commonly invoked, to plead connection: “Do not let me go.” The triangle, if there is one emerging, is between the two in love and the spirit, which over-rides pettiness for them both. But who has not been attracted to the whims of love? Once love is tasted, that is a part of its charm. It should be solid as the experience, but it usually is not. Certainly substantiality is in pleasant question throughout.

Bring your John Donne for the third, poem, “Doing Theology,” for, true to the dedication, Donne’s language, “twin compasses,” demands a bit of a gloss. I won’t give that here, but Donne added “stiff” to the twin compasses, giving it a more edgy erotic ring. This book is only in part about erotic matters, not to take any of Donne’s transcendence away from the revered subject.

And so we go as the book goes, into the thick with a kind of eroti-theological ambivalence. For I want to point out that the writer often here and in other works allows confusion of language to permeate the character and meaning of the lover, as though, sometimes, it were hard to distinguish the lover from Christ. This is a layer that I don’t recognize as coming from Donne, and is solely Watson’s own. Maybe this is the new metaphysical poetry of the twenty-first century. I don’t know, but I read it with scrutiny and pleasure.
The fourth poem may be the best portrait of the lover, the other, “Artesian Waters.” Reeds of sorrow go with waters, the stillborn child of death of hope, the confusion the speaker feels between his sorrow and the beloved's, and water, of course, made so remarkable by being dowsed for in the depths of the spirit. It’s an intricate whole where some may find the reference to a “still small voice,” clangs too explicitly from scripture, others right on target, but the poet is carrying the collection straight in the direction of mystical Christianity, and there is no going back. We are on track with the major resonance, and we will force our way if the images are too obscure for us now. This, of course, is both a fault in subtlety, and a strength in purpose.
“Sanctus Bells”—these words illuminate a lot about the relationship without explaining that which the speaker cannot quite explain either: “Still, that [the intertwining of past lives] does not resolve/ this peculiar vacuum/ left by knowing you're there,/ but not quite held.” Central to this book of poems is the dreadful feeling of the absence of the lover, even when at hand the most intimately.

“Glossolalia” employs the phrase, “love threads/ the soul back/ into the body/ and anchors it,” providing the in-text basis for the title of the book. The bodies of the lovers provide both feast and altar for the familiar communion. Less comfortable for me than the religious ecstasy is the image: “corridors dark/ and red as birth canals” early in the poem, for I know nothing of the loved other ever giving birth (as a pretext for this shocking image). In other words, the redness seems incongruous, especially in the meeting between the two in the same poem in idealized nature, among “meadows sweet/ with beebalm and honeysuckle.” But all these poetic gestures are based in part on that long-lasting metaphysical music from Donne, Herbert, and the like, so a reader might expect some jarring images.

With so much intertwining of the lovers' selves and acts with God, with the solemnities and rituals of Christ, it is necessary to step back sometimes and remember that neither the speaker in the book nor his lover is really a deity. This may seem difficult sometime, with the language used, the old “religion of love,” for the implications come up, as in the poem, “Driving Home”: “But I repent/ to call you again.” However, taken as a whole, few readers will take this as a flaw—rather, a layer, a delight.

For it is not only Christian feeling that binds the two in this book, of course—thought that permeates the most, even to rhapsodies about the nature of God and attributes of God. It is also contemporary psychology. We learn in the poem, “Shambhala,” of this feature: “abuse has sharded—/ clouded/ your ability to sing.” Sometimes such revelations are necessary to give earthy weight to the litanies of the divine in all this. This feature comes up several times in Love Threads.

Solomon had many wives, but in this book, the speaker does not garner one. Instead marriage is in the classical ideal, the marriage of minds, as in the poem, “The Wisdom of Solomon,” which, while it recommends closeness, urges the lover, always hampered by past wounds, to open to God for a truer fulfillment than marriage.

The secrets of the ultimate temple of old Israel, radical, personal renewing in this world, a glass house, another garden, even a revisiting of Tao—the windup poems of this collection pull toward a general summation of spirit. The lingering failure of the beloved to rise fully from brokenness does not seem to cause great pain. The world is as it has been in the rest of the book, but it is rather left behind—caught up in greater concerns. In some sense, these more expansive spiritual realms are also higher than the dear but desperate strife of the journey of the troubled relationship itself. They are the Alpha from which the entire journey begins. And where it ends.

Alan Naslund, author of Silk Weather

OneLight 01-27-2014 08:55 AM

Thomas, how very exciting for you!

Poetry is one of the beautiful ways to share the feelings of the heart and to touch another with its essence.

Wishing you much success...


P.S.: Remember to bump this post up once your book is released next month just to remind us to look for it.

Thomas Ramey Watson 01-27-2014 11:11 AM

Originally Posted by OneLight
Thomas, how very exciting for you!

Poetry is one of the beautiful ways to share the feelings of the heart and to touch another with its essence.

Wishing you much success...


P.S.: Remember to bump this post up once your book is released next month just to remind us to look for it.

Thanks much Peg. You might enjoy my other two books, my memoir, Baltho, The Dog Who Owned a Man, and another book of poetry, The Necessity of Symbols, all out recently. Amazon and other outlets carry them. You can also order inscribed copies directly from me for only a bit more: http://www.thomasrameywatson.com/edit

Thomas Ramey Watson 01-29-2014 08:31 PM

Here is the cover for Love Threads

Thomas Ramey Watson 02-02-2014 08:33 AM

At last! :D Love Threads will appear on Amazon within 5-7 days. I'm working on the Kindle now so it will happen soon. And it will be in the Ingrams catalog in 5-7 weeks. I'll have copies to inscribe in a few weeks.

Thomas Ramey Watson 02-02-2014 04:14 PM

Wow, that was fast. Amazon.com say my new book Love Threads is now available! The Kindle will be available in a few hours.


Thomas Ramey Watson 02-02-2014 04:31 PM

And here's the Kindle:


Thomas Ramey Watson 02-04-2014 03:07 PM

I'm supposed to have the paperbacks in hand within a week (by the 11th) to inscribe for those who want them.

Thomas Ramey Watson 02-08-2014 09:54 AM

This book is about a number of soul realm experiences. I would be interested in hearing some of yours. What happened? What have you learned? Etc.

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