Surpassing Pleasure by John SlaterSurpassing Pleasure by John Slater

Surpassing Pleasure

byJohn Slater

Paperback | June 1, 2011

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This energetic first collection moves freely from the world of professional snooker to drunken adolescent escapades. Slater contemplates the art of moving furniture, the marginalia of monastic scribes and daydreams in a Japanese garden. Depicting care or abandon, the poems reflect on that unique carefree care for language that is poetry itself.

John Slater grew up in Unionville, Ontario, and was attracted to poetry at a young age. After three years of literature and philosophy at Trent University in Peterborough, he left school to pursue life as a Cistercian monk, a vocation in which he's continued happily since January of 2000. Immersion in the rhythm of monastic living, its...
Title:Surpassing PleasureFormat:PaperbackDimensions:112 pages, 8.73 × 5.56 × 0.44 inPublished:June 1, 2011Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889843406

ISBN - 13:9780889843400

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From the Author

The title has the double sense of getting beyond attachment to physical pleasure, and of the greater pleasures of the spirit as it grows in freedom ... or rather, the poems inhabit the tense middle ground between these two kinds of pleasure. A book of poems by the Persian poet Hafiz I recently helped to translate has for its cover a detail from a sixteenth century illuminated manuscript, showing a tavern with cavorting revellers in its yard, angels passing around celestial wine on its rooftop, and the poet in a window, midway up, suspended, and drinking, apparently, his now distinctively hybrid vintage.The koi fish are a fitting cover image; at once restless, always moving, and serene, with a tendency to swim against the current, they are symbols of friendship (in Japanese `koi' is a homophone for `affection'). They appear in a few poems, in particular `A Wish'' wheregold bronze and silver koi fishdart among the lime-green weedslike so many unmet longings ...The monastery where I've lived for the past eleven years has a once-lovely then run-down and overgrown Japanese garden which I've worked for several years to restore. This recovery of the garden's original shape, the work of pruning, and planting, the recovery of an ordered space for life to grow according to its native shape, artificially natural, has provided both direct vocabulary and images as well as a flexible metaphor (connecting themes of play, the inner work, poetry, care-giving) through many of the poems. The freedom that comes with stability, the growth that comes with rootedness in place, is a notion that (from various angles) frequently emerges.Silence has infinite shades, eachword or inarticulate soundits particular, unheard resonance.It is this silent ground the garden of the book seeks to cultivate.

Read from the Book

Bamboo Children... a sweat of plans ... -- Tim LilburnMist wrapped the pruned like a lunatic hat-racklimbs of the lemon-thread cypresslike over-stuffed winter coats, like the gardener'slavish plans ... to set up an amoeba-shaped mulch-bed: two stray ferns, a clipped azalea, moss-covered rocks in the pine-shadeor transplant a few bamboo clumpsfrom the overgrown yard of the hermitageto the offbeat order of the garden wheretheir olive or aquamarine stalks andlight-green foliageat last would have room to stretch and spreadlike aerials, plant antennae gettingsignals from an alien planet,translations of the gardener's wish: when I'm goneand the landscape's again overgrownknee-high weeds in the unraked gravel,set the bamboo freepull up the plastic borders buriedtwo feet deep in the earth,so its offspring, tunneling underground,apnea swimmers doing laps on the pale blue pool-floor -- pop up a hundred feet off andthe one-time orderl garden getsa new look: bamboo forest.

Editorial Reviews

`I wanted to see this book become a part of our literary landscape because it speaks so vitally of one version of the human spirit. Before he is a man of God, Brother Isaac is a man, foibled, incomplete and knowing himself to be so, but working through the risks towards a verity none can argue. We have, I'd suppose, the beginnings of a journey here, and I look forward to a long series of successes in explaining ourselves to ourselves.'