The journal Stirring (Sundress Publications) recently published one of my “Dream Poems” (most of which will be part of a manuscript I’m putting together for a chapbook entitled A Heaven For the Drowned). Here it is:
Every so often I post here to announce that I’m making the Kindle version of my poetry collection, Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter, free for a few days. Now I’m doing it again. The book will be free for five days starting tomorrow, 22 January 2016 (the print version, which is, of course, always nicer, is $8.00).
You can read more about the book and about my work and publications as a poet on the Amazon page.
Here’s the link:
The journal Kentucky Review, which published my poem “Alabastron” (from my collection Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter) a while back, recently published two of my more recent poems. To read them (and some wonderful work by other poets), go here:
Last summer I was thinking and dreaming a lot about what had happened in Ferguson, and about similar events around the county. I was also thinking about the destruction and death in Gaza under Operation “Protective Edge”, and about finishing the poems for my book about Jesus and Mary Magdalene, Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter. This poem was one of the results, and I’m really happy that the literary journal Juked chose to publish it!
The fabulous literary journal MadHat Lit saw fit to include my poem, which is about the violence and unrest in Gaza and in Ferguson late last summer, in its Winter 2015 issue. Here it is (and definitely read some of the other poetry and prose there as well):
This wonderful and thoughtful review of my new poetry collection, Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter, is from Philip Lee, and appeared on Goodreads:
This is a collection of mystical poems which might appeal to readers with an interest in the early Christian church, to lovers of conspiracy theories, or to anyone who delights in an arcane/’different’ view of the old, old story.
Maryam, the throwaway daughter of the collection’s title, is the lover of Esa – better known as Jesus, “the mirror of the [desert] lake”. Author Nancy Bevilaqua, who has done much research into Aramaic and ancient Greek names, comes up with the intriguing idea that Jesus is part oasis, part mirage. And it is Maryam, whom we might think of as Mary Magdalene, that after the crucifixion, is scorned by a woman-hating St Peter (here called Kefa), and makes her way to Epheseus. Other transformations include her brother, Lazaros (Lazarus), not being raised from the dead by Esa, but his “death [is revealed as] a turn of mind”. Also that Maryam has a daughter
Many of these pieces are difficult reading, but what’s exciting about them – apart from their skilful use of language – is the way the narrative builds up. After reading them once through, the pleasure will be to take them up again and see what more Ms Bevilaqua’s mystic imagination has made of the Apocrypha. She has both a remarkable feel for landscape and a scholar’s knowledge of the ancient Levantine. At times the verses are cruel and bloody,
“….Over our hill
nails are ripped from someone’s broken hands, lengths
of scarlet rope and snakes around his legs.”
at times visionary,
“There are other ways to reach me:
observe light’s ecstatic tricks
upon the landscape, note how stars
remove their shoes for you, that you know
what birds’ eyes mean, that you have already
recipes for music…”
Ms Bevilqua makes it clear in her introduction that these are not intended as religious poems. Indeed, I think it would be difficult to read them as such, not just for the way they challenge tenets of the Christian story, but because of their feminist/historicist perspective. As more documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls become available to lay readers, the “Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter” will take its place in a rounder vision of what really went on two thousand years ago.
Here’s a link to the book’s Goodreads page, where you can read additional reviews and go to Amazon if you’d like to buy it. (For the time being, Amazon has reduced the print edition even further than I had; it’s now only $4.60. The Kindle edition is $3.99, but I highly recommend the print version (if you buy the latter, you will also be able to get the ebook for free through the Kindle Matchbook deal.)
This morning I awakened to find a wonderful, perceptive review by Philip Dodd (author of Angel War) of my new poetry collection, Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter. In part, it reads:
Bravely, in her new book, Nancy Bevilaqua leaves behind the things she knows well, her life in America and modern times, and journeys into the East, and into the past, to what is now known as the Holy Land, two thousand years ago. Cleverly, in her poems, she has created a world, influenced by her reading of the New Testament and the Gnostic Gospels, but one that is very much her own. That the poems read like translations of ancient texts into modern English is a great achievement, I think. It makes the poems seem authentic. The voice that speaks in the verses, quite cleverly, is not that of a modern woman, but one that lived in the Holy Land, long ago. They are about those things that are always there, that will never go, love, truth, hate, death, redemption, prejudice, tyranny, freedom. The voice that speaks in the verses makes the reader aware of the threat of the Roman soldiers, the lions in the courtyard, the leopard on the branch, how bare life was then, closer to the bone, the root of things…
To read the rest of the review, go here:
My poems “Levi, Ephesus” (from my new poetry collection Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter) and “Pueblos” (inspired by my visits to the Zuni and Acoma pueblos some years ago) are now up at the newly redesigned Construction Literary Magazine. The editors did a really beautiful job. Here’s the link:
This is one of the poems from my new book that was not previously published in a literary journal. Consider it a short advertisement, if you like. 🙂
He said, I lay
in city silences too: city
of antiquated dreams.
To the blind world
they answered. Just a memory
of the kind of world you live in,
somewhere under that sky.
For some reason, I wanted my book to be released on December 21st (the date seems significant, although I’m actually not sure why–but at any rate it’s close to Christmas, which I love), but I wasn’t sure if everything would be ready in time. As it turned out, it was. And so I’m really happy to announce that my collection Gospel of the Throwaway Daughter (additional information is available in the previous post) is now available on Amazon.com (the ebook will be available within the next couple of days). Poems from the collection have been published, or are forthcoming, from Menacing Hedge, Kentucky Review, Cafe Aphra, and Construction literary journal. I hope that some of you will take a look and, if you read the book, leave an honest review on Amazon or anywhere else. And a happy, peaceful, beautiful, miraculous holiday season to everyone!
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