Nov/Dec 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 6 The Longer LyricNovember 1, 2016 |

Introduction: The Longer Lyric

Many lines of Dan Beachy-Quick's "A Century of Meditation" end with—or evaporate into—a dash. His method in this beautiful lyric sequence about belief and the "eternal soul" is a blend of shapeliness and dissolution, of form and endlessness. His lines are phrasal, clausal at times, and organize—and sometimes recalibrate—his sentences, which themselves are variously complete and unclosed. "A Century of Meditation" is about the mind thinking, naturally, over a long time yet in quick spurts. It depicts thought and the reformation of thought into subsequent thought. The procedure is not narrative in a traditional sense; no story evolves, but the chronology is everywhere apparent. The poem seems to intimate timelessness: "I think there is no end to thinking." Yet each element, each image or aphorism, each concept is time-bound and time-told. Each of these hundred lines becomes an annual accrual, like tree rings or a century's worth of building time out of the passing of time.

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David Baker is the author or editor of many books of poetry and criticism. His latest collection of poems, Whale Fall, was published by W. W. Norton in July 2022. Baker taught at Kenyon 1983–84 and began a long association with The Kenyon Review then, including service for more than twenty-five years as poetry editor. He continues to curate the magazine’s annual environmental feature, “Nature’s Nature.” Baker is emeritus professor of English at Denison University, in Granville, Ohio, where he offers two classes each spring semester.

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