These poems celebrate the mystical ecstasies of love.
In his simply titled debut collection, Beizaee offers 25 poems that indeed focus on love; other topics include Holocaust victims, forgiveness, and the city of Jerusalem. In euphoric tones, the speaker addresses his beloved, assuring her of his dedication—sometimes even a devotion that becomes idolatrous, as in the second poem in this book, “Your Devoted Loving Hands”: “I adore you, I worship you for eternity / in a merciful mirage, in a manner / most graven.” The speaker nearly always capitalizes the word “love,” and often uses all-caps lines when in an especially ecstatic mode. In some cases, the tone of his rapture suggests the works of mystical poets such as Rumi or Mirabai, where love for humans, whether romantic or otherwise, blends with the divine: “MY LOVE RESTS ON HEART OF MY / BELOVED, / IT IS AN ENDLESS OCEAN OF DEVOTION, / WITH NO BEGINNING OR END” (“The Sea Of LOVE”). In “Mother,” a non-romantic poem, the speaker explicitly links human love with openness to the godly: “Your Loving eyes illuminate / the Devine [sic] promise of bliss.” States of bliss and oceanic devotion are indeed the stuff of mystical poetry and Beizaee’s ambitious pieces are certainly sincere. But his works are not as powerful as other poems in this genre, having an abstract quality that’s emotionally distancing. In “As blue strenuous earthy / Jasmin [sic] scented Candle of / HEART cries for Jubilation,” for example, the adjectives applied to the candle don’t seem related, so the lines have little impact. The author’s randomly capitalized words (“the word Of penitence”) and all-caps lines have an unfortunate effect, reading as naïve rather than passionate. The poems’ frequent archaisms also seem unsophisticated, beause this sort of device was old-fashioned a century ago. For example, in “FACE OF LOVE,” a longer piece, Beizaee writes: “Oh LOVE, / Thy benevolent mystical presence / Shalt lift its veil.” In comparison, modern translations of mystical poets (by, for example, Coleman Barks, Daniel Ladinsky, or Robert Bly) use simple, plain English. The author’s colorful, writhing illustrations lend a psychedelic note to the book.
An overworked, if heartfelt, poetry collection.