Eric James Cruz (Poetry ‘ 20) on Gregory Orr’s Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved

Poetry alum Eric James Cruz was recently featured in Poetry Daily’s What Sparks Poetry writing about the personal significance of Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved by Gregory Orr.

Read an excerpt of the article below:

Gregory Orr’s 2005 Concerning the Book That is the Body of the Beloved has been a godsend during a tough seven-year stretch that made it hard for me to feel human. Orr’s short lyrics insist that I stay connected to everything worth holding on to: empathy, perspective, hope, and the root of all these–love.

There is a word that stands out to me now: dimensionality. It lives as hope in these poems, a much-needed balm in the face of our current social climate. Most breathtaking is the invitation Orr leaves for the reader: to keep seeking in the face of loss. These poems affirm to me that I exist in both sorrow and joy. I live in the tension of being both unmoored and tethered to the world. We all experience elevating and diminishing moments; our job, this book seems to argue, is to embrace all of it: “a book about living / has to be filled with dying. / And a book of joy / will be full of sorrow.”