How Beautiful the Beloved by Gregory Orr

A Poetic Review by Rodger Lowenthal

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; First Edition edition (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556592833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556592836

Like maxims one finds

On a plastic plaque

At a souvenir store

Except fleshed out

With true feeling

And honest questions


A form/style that contains

No grandiloquence

Plain speech asks

Direct questions

A mistake to gloss over

Straight-forward simplicity


What is gone

Is still loved

“in her dress/

Of everlastingness”

A mystical alphabet

Where secrets wait

To be unlocked

The Book reeling out hope

To the right

Angle of speculation


lets grief “lead him/

By the nose

Grief with leaden twists and turns

Poems lead the way assume

The burdens of the lost

Though silent on the page

A voice raised

In acceptance  In defiance


The poet’s need

The poem’s compulsions

Testing against loss

For a place in the universe

Armed only with “desire”

“grief” and “love”

A daily changing of formula


Life of daily pain

The solace of poems

Small polished gems

Are a heavy necklace

Brevity does not deny the urgency

To understand death

And the meaning of loss


My high school

English teacher

Commented on a paper

“Succinct but cogent”

Forward to

How Beautiful the Beloved

Note: At the age of 12 Orr accidently shot and killed his younger brother. Two years later his mother died. These brief lyrics help to “express and regulate our emotional lives.”

Rodger Lowenthal is a poet from Eastern Montgomery County Pennsylvania who is known to frequent Ryerss Museum and Library  in Fox Chase. His poetic reviews of books have appeared on line in various literary blogs. He is known to pick up pieces of cigars and Hollywood whenever he can.


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