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The Psalm of Nothing (by Nicholas Samaras)

I've just gotten my hands on a copy of Nicholas Samaras' book of poems, American Psalm, World PsalmIt's a collection of 150 poems. Unlike the creative renderings of the Psalter by Jim Cotter and Laurance Wieder, Samaras imagines how the biblical psalms might be transposed in contemporary times. As he puts it:

"I view it an excellent approach to think of contemporary psalms in terms of the experimental nature of modal Jazz--the arrangement extending outward in improvisation, but always returning to its base form. In this, I regarded the extension of imagined modern psalms as likewise tending outward--yet always returning to the Biblical psalms in measure of base structure, theme, content, literary device, and lyrical expression, illuminating what may be constant in human struggle--social, political, and artistic."

He summarizes his thinking this way: "Every form of artistry (including prayer) begins in rhythm, cadence, music, and relationships."

There …

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