Transcendence in the Material World: Maverick Poet MARC BEAUDIN Returns for Special July 18th Reading at Roethke House

    icon Jun 26, 2024
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Blessed with the ability to take the equally familiar and unpredictable elements of nature and connect them with the familiar yet often unnatural machinations of humanity, poet Marc Beaudin is on a mission to use fundamental forces of the natural world in order to bring clarity to the uncertainties mankind has created for itself in the materialist world.

People throughout the Saginaw Bay arts community may well remember Beaudinwho populated many regional cafes & bistros with poetry readings and theatrical forays back in the day. Marc was a founding member of the 303 Collective, a group of artists and performers who nurtured alternative perspectives in the mid-Michigan area by  producing original plays and fresh translations with original themes, such as Little Shop of Whores (a take-off on the oil industry) and modern readings of Reefer Madness.

Back in 2008 Marc decided to take to the road and follow in the footsteps of other literary counter-cultural luminaries such as Ken Kesey and move to the great western wilds of Livingston, Montana, where he opened his own bookstore called Elk River Books and continued to focus his energies developing theatrical projects, workshops, and threading words together through the alchemy of poetry.

Next month Marc will be returning to the Great Lakes Bay Region on Thursday, July 18th for a special reading from his new collection of poetry titled These Creatures of a Day and says he is looking forward to catching up with old friends and sharing his new poems. 

Sponsored by the Friends of Theodore Roethke and billed as Across the Far Field Connecting the West and Midwest, this ‘hybrid’ event will take place from 7:00 - 8:00 PM in person at the Roethke House, 1805 Gratiot Ave., and also online via Zoom. He will also be featuring work from his previous book, Life List: Poems, and the spoken word album From Coltrane to Coal Train: An Eco-Jazz Suite, featuring music by members of the band Morphine.   This event is free and open to the public and donations are welcome, but not required.

Published in 2024 and 2020 respectively, in both of these books Beaudin’s poems are  often rooted in his mid-Michigan homeland and his adopted home in the northern Rockies. In each of these locations a connection to the land and waters of these disparate places grounds his poetry to the Earth and its creatures and embraces the exquisite and revelatory wonder of nature’s rapturous harmony in order to bring clarity and focus as humanity stands on the razor-edge of uncertainty.

The reading and discussion, which will also include Roethke related/inspired material such as the poem “At Roethke’s Grave,” moves through Beaudin’s recent work for which Idaho poet CMarie Furhman notes, “Beaudin is one of our finest nature poets, and his writing—pure, authentic, and timely—is a call to humanity, a nod to ancestors, and a pure joy to read.”

Marc also has a spoken word album, From Coltrane to Coal Train: An Eco-Jazz Suite, that features music by former members of the bands Morphine and Twinemen: Dana Colley, Billy Conway, and Laurie Sargent. His poetry has appeared in Orion, Cutthroat, Whitefish Review, Deep Wild Journal, among others, and is widely anthologized in publications dedicated to environmental and social justice, as Marc believes that Brahms Violin Concerto in D is more powerful than all the guns, bombs, and boardrooms of the world.

Praise for his newly released book has been impressive: 

“Beaudin is the rare poet, a peculiar visionary, who can extract both humility and hilarity from the everyday.  In this wonder collection, he casts out a lifeline to the world.”

 – Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red and The Lost Journals of Sacajewea

 "Beaudin brings a practice of acute attention to our world, fueled by a poet's diet of strong coffee, classic jazz, last call, wild huckleberries, and dreams of potato soup. The best poems in These Creatures of a Day vault over the "fear-white fence" of modern America and help us do what needs doing: wake up."

 – Joseph Bednarik, editor of Jim Harrison: Complete Poems

With his latest collection, Beaudin brings together 56 new poems of the endless struggle between connection and disconnection with the natural world; with one another; with memory, love, death, and kinship. With pieces careening from heartbreak to humor, from dive bars to divine wildness, this hand-sewn, limited edition book is, in the words of Allen Morris Jones, author of Mumblecusser, “proof of a hard-won exploration, the footprints of a guy who’s been to the edge and made it back more or less in one piece, the precise, closely observed reflections of a human heart, as Faulkner said, in conflict with itself.”

When asked about what his life has been like since moving to Montana, Beaudin says ‘Relaxed’ is the first word that comes to mind.  “I live in a book-lined cabin along a talkative creek tucked up into the Absaroka Mountains about 40 miles north of Yellowstone Park.  Every night I listen to owls and coyotes, occasionally wolves. My days usually begin by the conversations of magpies and flickers. Between those bookends, the greatest gift I’ve found out here is time: time to write, but also time to listen, to think and to not think.”

“As for the arts scene, the sign on the way into the nearest town is pretty indicative: “Livingston -- 2 stop lights and 14 art galleries.” Some of the work being done here is the typical Western kitsch: horses and steer horns and butch cowboys, but most of what I see is finding ways to be relevant, surprising, powerfully wild and still connected to the culture of the West, which I would say has more to do with a fierce social independence tied to a flexibility of being shaped by the land, the cows and sheep, and the men who love them.”

“As far as a literary goal, at some point, early on, I gave myself the dictum: “Every line must sing.” I wanted every single line on every page to have music – which is to say; harmony, balance, motion, precision, beauty and mystery. At least that’s what music is to me.”

“This led to the use of musical terminology in the structure of my previous book: interludes, caesurae, movements instead of chapters, a coda at the end and ultimately the title using the word “song.” Of course, I fail. Every line doesn’t sing. Only Nature can be perfect. But as Miscellaneous Jones says, “If you’re not on a pointless quest, you may as well get a job.”

To learn more and watch Marc's July 18th reading via Zoom click this link.

You can also check out more of Marc's work on his social media sites: • •

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