“Not Satisfaction, but Its Proxies”: Javen Tanner’s Curses For Your Sake

Anthology Poet Highlight 10/82: Javen Tanner, Curses For Your Sake

“The title of Tanner’s chapbook frames well the experience captured in his lyric narrative poems. Extracted from the decree God directed towards Adam and Eve at the moment he expelled them from the Garden of Eden, the phrase ‘curses for your sake’ (see Gen. 3:17) suggests that moral paradox and ambiguity form the developmental crux of mortality. In other words, the pain, suffering, and even, as Tanner calls them, the ‘proxies’ of satisfaction (‘Eden,’ line 2 [scroll down to find poem]) (objects or relationships that prepare us for the ultimate satisfaction of spiritual and physical salvation) work toward our advantage and enhancement as human beings and human communities. With evocative language and imagery informed, to some degree, by his Mormon religious experience and self-consciously centered on the visceral rhythms and ambiguities of human experience, he thus takes up his poetic cross and wills us to follow as he forges a path through variations on these ambiguous realities to the end of preparing us for more lasting psychological and spiritual connections and consolations.”

Javen has also collaborated with composer Lansing McLoskey on a musical suite of “Sudden Music,” which was part of Mormon Artist Group’s “Song/Cycles” project. Here’s an excerpt. Apparently “Sudden Music” is a popular point of departure for some within the performing arts crowd…

I’ve responded to more of Javen’s work here.

(This post first appeared in Mormon Artist [scroll down])