STANLEY FEFFERMAN -PROFESSOR,
Home Was Elsewhere reveals the intimacies of Stanley Fefferman’s 20-year sojourn training in the world of the charismatic guru, Chogyam Trungpa.
The poems show the author making himself at home in the master’s world by his exertion in meditation practices where discipline is ornamented with spontaneous behaviours traditionally connected with Crazy Wisdom.
The poems in this unique collection modulate from sex through spirituality to playfulness.
“When I first heard Stanley Fefferman read his poems I was struck by their musicality, humour, and wisdom…It is poetry filled with insight and gratitude.”
“So many words were perfectly surprising, so many lines lifted off the page. Many poems had the pleasing shapes of a circle, or a spiral, or a leaf either drifting from branch to ground or rising into the sun.”
“Stanley Fefferman’s deep love of music has inspired poetry that is entirely musical. What he experiences and how he describes are one; we enter as blissful guests into his celebration of pure joy.”
“It was a pleasant surprise to find an entire book inspired by music. Stanley Fefferman has an individual voice, which invokes visual images and provokes you to see things in his own personal way. The poems, full of surprises from beginning to end, were a pleasure to read and sparked my imagination.”
Robert Aitken, c.m. Artistic Director, New Music Concerts
“Fefferman’s poetry is a phenomenal verbal symphony of sound, lyricism, imagery, rhythm and reason. A former critic, he knows music with the intimacy of a lover.”
“It’s a treat when a poet takes a whole book to explore in depth a single subject. When the topic is music and the poet as knowledgeable as Stanley Fefferman, the result is a gift for all the senses. His work is varied in tone, mood and mode, given a perceptive ear and a gift for translating the complexities of musical experience into language.”
It might interest you to know that the poems in Home Was Elsewhere are grouped by topic: “The Odour of Lovers” contains poems about romance.” The Pyre of Discipline” is devoted to spirituality, particularly my relationship with Chogyam Trungpa. “Ink Drunk” explores the craft of writing.
Here follows a selection of poems from each group that will give you a taste of my work.
FROM “The Odour of Lovers”
There are still wild horses in Colorado
with shaggy coats the colour of earth.
There are still hairy lavender flowers
with hearts of gold closed against the rain.
You are still in Colorado
probably trying too hard and crying
like the day I hugged you and said
“It’s like hugging the whole earth.”
Our love affair did not go well:
we could not console each other, Janet.
Tonight I’m hugging myself
in a car in Caledon, Ontario,
smoking, watching the stars,
watching the milkweed sway
in the half-moon light,
letting the wind soothe me.
There is no consolation, Janet,
not even hugging the whole earth.
It’s getting early now.
My cigarette is finished.
The birds are beginning to cheer themselves up.
I’m going to get some sleep.
Good morning, Janet.
From “Pyre of Discipline”
The Devil’s Thumb
The foothills of the Rockies near Eldorado Springs
project a spur they call ‘the Devil’s Thumb’
an ode in stone to stubbornness
of those who make their own way, like Lucifer
squirted by god into the hot womb of earth
and aborted with the Rockies X million years ago
still poking his thumb-up victory sign into heaven’s eye
I also think that spur of rock is Buddha
whipped into shape by the wind of his own desires
to hover as a link between earth and heaven.
He sits above the city, among pines
wind-swept by the furious bliss of his breathing
into attitudes of dancers. He breaths in pollution
the pain of rock-stars who murder their wives
of women who want babies and out of doubt abort them
His out-breath fills the valley with wave after wave of warriors
dancing over the hills like pines and reposing on the softness of sandstone peaks
after their long march through canyons of darkness and light
From “Ink Drunk”
A Fine Line: Themes and Variations
I would like to write a line
so hungry it could catch it’s own dinner
so transparent it could see through my story
so ironic it would smile at your fears
so slippery you could pleasure yourself
so supple you could fly fish for trout
so musical it would purr at your touch
so sensitive it could come in your mouth
so venomous it could spit like a cobra
so luminous it would bend like a rainbow
so strong it could hoist a piano
so persuasive it could make up your mind
so forgiving it would bind us together.
At the word ‘hungry’ a kestrel slips my lip,
soars, stoops, breaks and plucks its quarry, a vole
in desperate dash across gravel path from grass to grass
Sensitive signifies tongue coming to a head like penis
or snake insinuating its length between lips
bent like rainbow reflection in spawning pool where
dry mayfly arcs at end of supple line, intersects sipping rise
of trout who mouths then spits the hook, her slippery smile
lost under purring ripple of sea-run current seam.
A glass piano fearlessly falling from sky to earth
may persuade you with music to forgive this story
yoking ideas not till now in your mind.
A line so fine could catch it’s own dinner
see through my story, smile at your fears
pleasure yourself, fly fish for trout
purr at your touch, come in your mouth
spit like a cobra, bend like a rainbow
hoist a piano, make up your mind, bind us together.
How to introduce poems? I like what Ted Berrigan said: “You can’t know anything about my poems by knowing something about me. But you can know a lot about my poems by hearing me read them.”
Accordingly, here are a few YouTube Videos of me reading my poems.
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Home page photo credits: “Professor” Dale Hildebrand, “Poet” Eric Fefferman Photography, “Journalist” Eric Fefferman Photography, “Photographer” Marisa Macri-Fefferman, “Get in Touch” Eric Fefferman Photography