A Country Where All Colors Are Sacred and Alive:
Published by: Lorian Press
Excerpt: Vibratory Night Near Sparta (1975)
Greece: Leslie and I rent a car and drive from Athens to the Peloponnesian Peninsula. We stop in a remote mountainous region above the ancient site of the city of Sparta. There’s a bright full sweep of stars. We get out of the car to rest and relieve ourselves. The entire earth is vibrating at a low but quite audible frequency.
There are no visible towers or power stations, no human habitations, no artificial lights, no other traffic on the highway. The hum deepens; the earth itself seems super-sentient. The vibration comes up through the soles of our feet and legs direct from the soil, which feels to us as if suffused with a dense, magnetic energy. It’s like we’ve stepped into another dimension, a more highly resonant realm.
Now the energy continues to lift and the bass buzz becomes more audible. As this happens our own bodies take on a more charged, bioelectronic quality. Silence deepens in our minds like a reservoir fills with water after heavy rain. We stay until it feels like it’s time to go, then drive away into the night, our bodies full of sparkling darkness, like the star-fields floating overhead.
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Geoff Oelsner doesn’t spend too much time thinking about writing songs. Inspiration, he says, just hits him. He calls them “givens,” and he knows that a gift like that is to be used.
On the recording (Ordinary Mystery), he was backed by Kelly Mulhollan, Robin Rues, Andrew Sieff, and also his family, including his wife and two grown children who now make their careers as musicians.
Oelsner chatted with the us recently about the gifts of songs, the importance of recording with his family and his love of Native American cultures. Four songs on the album are dedicated to the countries different native peoples, and proceeds from the recording will be donated to Native American charities.
–Kevin Kinder, Northwest Arkansas Domocrat Gazette
If there’s an award for Most Eclectic Local Album of the Year and Possibly Even the Decade, it will surely go to Geoff Oelsner for his new release, “Morning Branches.”
There is the unadorned informality of Geoff Oelsner, LCSW’s Dream and the theatrical pandemonium of Mad Tom’s Song. And there are some genuine folk songs delivered in Geoff’s engaging resonant baritone and liberally sprinkled with tasty acoustic instruments and harmony. Two of these songs, My Shady and Borderguards, I would put right up there with the best of Joan Baez or Peter, Paul & Mary.
More than those of most singer-songwriters, Geoff Oelsner’s lyrics read as poetry on the printed page…Oelsner, who once told me that he considers himself “a happy hand-puppet of the artistic process,” often gets song ideas, and even entire songs, from his dreams… Geoff Oelsner is especially attuned to this phenomenon and tries to honor it and be faithful to it when it occurs.
–Emily Kaitz, Fayetteville Free Weekly
With so many people now writing poems and so many new poets in print, whether in traditional or nontraditional book form, I am captured by poets who don’t just write well, but poets whose poems tell the story of an ever-expanding consciousness, poets whose work pushes me to keep re-examining the journey of my own life, push me to keep growing my own circles of awareness. The great American poets always remind us that poetry begins most richly in “the spirit of place.” The great Sufi poets tell us that the spiritual journey ends in joy. The title of Geoffrey Oelsner’s remarkable book tells us that his own journey begins in the native American landscape—in his case, Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Ozarks of Arkansas—but it moves inexorably towards spiritual awakening and joy.
The poems gather up the threads of childhood, but spin them into a mature consciousness that is by turns sharply descriptive, calmly insightful, humorous, and ecstatic. At times, Oelsner approaches something that feels shamanic in the poems, something old-soul-like, drawing upon an easy kinship with Native American myth and lore and with the vision quest of the spiritual warrior. There are deeply personal poems, too, of loss and celebration, of mourning for the death of the father, of tenderness towards a beloved brother, and intimate poems that are wonderfully erotic love-poems, tantric poems of sexual union and illumination. I travel a lot in my work, and so I look for books of poems that can travel well with me, that can keep me company through a variety or changing landscapes and inner experiences, that keep me alert to the possibilities of revelation. The great contemporary Polish poet Adam Zagajewski is one such poet. Geoffrey Oelsner is another. Sometimes when you’ve finished a book, you want the poet for a friend. Better still, when you’ve finished this book, the poet is a friend.”
–Sandford Lyne, Writing Poetry from the Inside Out