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Book Review


Breathing Arizona: A Journal, lovespeak poetry.

Byline: Reprint from Subterranean Blue Poetry

Title of Book: Breathing Arizona: A Journal

Author: Stephen Bett

Publisher: Ekstasis Editions Canada Ltd.

Date of Publication: 2014

Page Count: 132

“listen to the warm”
- Rod McKuen

Breathing Arizona: A Journal is the story of a long distance love affair in New Age poetry by Stephen Bett. He has had his work published in over 100 literary journals in the West, in 3 anthologies and on radio. This is the second book of poetry I have Reviewed by Stephen Bett, the first being Sound Off: a book of jazz. It is the 15th book of poetry by the poet who lives in Vancouver.

Good love poetry exists in the realm of magic, as if holding claim to something ethereal, something not quite of this world, that makes the angels sing. Breathing Arizona: A Journal is love poetry that exists in magical spaces, in the place of the soul. The poem begins like the bud of a flower, in incantation, begins to open and by the end of the book the flower is fully open, the love affair in marriage.

The story of a love affair in a broken stream of consciousness, yet pared in borrowing from the Beat Poet tradition, the seeds sewn by the counterculture generation of the 1960’s. And an evolution in Beat Poetry, more spare, almost stereographic and in the New Age style. The blunted lines reflect the violence of W.W. I and W.W. II and the postmodern war economy, rewoven into lovespeak, a certain child-like innocence and the idea of a safe harbour.

“Human places in this

hard to locate world

I will touch only

with care

- feel strong for

doing so”

It is a dance of love, that takes place long distance, she is from the United States, he calls her the A-muricano woman and he is living in Canada, you can feel the spaces that travel by car and plane going home.

“Breathing Arizona
breathing Arizona . . .

I promised not
to worry, flights
just go awry

Thought you’d be
in NYC last nite
(after Nigeria,
Morocco, Paris)
- stupido of me

Still no phone to –
day, no laptop, no
text connection

Slept last nite w/
the phone ready
by my pillow

Keeping my promise
to you, even w/out
pillow talk (hah!)

Breathing the twin
pillow where your
head last lay

Breathing the grace
of your head”


“Cascadia they have
forever called it

A dream world
to some

Pieces of your
pieces of

Maybe a place
in our

Maybe the
that drew
us in this

You finish
this poem
for Cascadia
- it is yours
& goes


“Do not despair,
you will hold
each other

The birds will
fly, the desert
(despite dry
rain) . . . “

Images within the poem are from the world of men (sports allusions) and also the natural world, desert, seagulls, rain. As the love affair evolves he compares himself to a seagull.

Breathing Arizona

Back on track,
her wisdom wings
support this
clueless gull

Lift him &
go forth

For the life of them

For the life of things
in their own

For the life of any
thing in its own
bewildered &

Bewildered yes
be wild of
heart &
go forth

Another grace yet
to be learned
as wings
keep time”

Breathing Arizona: A Journal is a work reminiscent of the love poetry of Rod McKuen, Listen to the Warm, minimalist and a celebration of love in the land of the cursehold. A sweet open testimonial, presents the poet, his humor, his grace, their love as life, the water falls through and his held in his cupped open hands. A flight of magic in a shattered and violent world, Breathing Arizona: A Journal by Stephen Bett.

Genre: Poetry, New Age

Available @ Amazon Canada.

Available @ Amazon United States.

The Book Reviewer

© 2014