Cover photo by Barbara Wright.

Cover photo by Barbara Wright.

In these stories, poetry and songs, we may be reminded of forgotten, subterranean knowledge. In the process, all we seek is ours, no longer limited to tangible grasp, in the context of one that is all. But there is more that we seek.
— Beth Helsley

Waters of the Afternoon: A Song in Three Voices

Browser Books Publishing, San Francisco, 2010. 76 pp plus CD.

$20. Available for purchase via Gurdjieff Books & Music or or through the author.

This epic journey of narrative and lyric poetry, plus music, centers around the perennial question “What is the secret of Illusion?” A story from ancient Hindu literature, a tale of King Solomon, and the story of an Iowa farm woman from the late 1800s express this question in three very different voices.  These three separate stories are linked by two Interludes and a Prelude. The book literally concludes with a recording of eight songs,  “Sushila's Canticles" (related to the Hindu story), with piano accompaniment by the poet/composer and sung by mezzo soprano Lori Hedrick Helfand, on a CD included in the back of each book.

From Alma SorensenWaters of the Afternoon: A Song in Three Voices

And I am here as gift to tell you time
curves and folds and does become the cloth
I listen for, even in my long silence.
Oh keen cloth, perhaps a rag ripped,
cloth in the drawer, a solace for my face:
I hold you soft, oh strange and sacred one,
through every driven year that you wipe clean,
damp with the tears you slake and you create.
And I devour the conundrum of God the nameless,
God the whisper, web caught in cloth,
God more human than ourselves.

- Read Praise for Waters of the Afternoon: A Song in Three Voices here - 


Cover: 16th C. Persian miniature of Adam and Eve.

Cover: 16th C. Persian miniature of Adam and Eve.

The Fragrant Fire 

Rasa Publications, San Francisco, 1996. 95 pp.                                      

(Published concurrently with the premier and live performance recording of “Four Songs on the Essence of Beauty". Ann Mia Haning, soprano; Michael Orland, piano.)

$10. Book available for purchase through the author.

These 48 poems cover a span of over 20 years. They range in tone from the intimacy of the Japanese tanka to the sonorous formality of the sonnet and villanelle. Some address the unsolvable mysteries of Eros and death; others come in the spirit of sheer absurdity and fun. But all speak in a voice at once feminine and universal, impelled, at its root, by the call to transformation. 

“Allegory and Echo in Early Dawn” | The Fragrant Fire

Desire, desire is ringing us, and is
through us in infinities of flawless
loops that never end and never break.
We are the moving and the motionless,
adrift in cells and cycles of desire.
Oh flint, flint to the ascending, fragrant fire.

 - Read Praise for The Fragrant Fire here -


Cover art by Anne Dudley.

Cover art by Anne Dudley.

In The Scale of Worlds

Rasa Publications, San Francisco, 2003. 22 pp. 

$8. Available for purchase through the author.

A chapbook of 13 poems written in memory of the poet's father.

“Chaos releases cloud into the sky" | In The Scale of Worlds

Chaos releases cloud into the sky.
Chaos has set the vapor and the heat,
the cold cacophony that we must try
to hear, within heart's very term and beat.
It is both loss and hope, the call we bear.
The wise man and the master trail not peace
alone, but chaos. Yet in that conflux where
they dwell, we dwell. And chaos is release.

Release: within the dead streets and the dying,
the air unmoving, yellowed, and the ill,
small sun that is our vision trying,
against despair, to honor this long chill.
How many times have Shiva, Brahma, sighing,
destroyed the universe and made it new?
The crucible is old, but we are too.


- For purchase or for more information, please Contact Claudia -