I write for insight. I learned to need to write when I was young. When I write, I discover what I didn’t know I knew. Writing made sense of what I often couldn’t. Writing also acquainted me with the solace of voice.
My love of language began with scripture. I noted how often its verse is set within prose. This means that the speaker is singing. Such songs! When I began to study classical Hebrew, I learned that the songs say more than religion allows.
Encountering Tau Malachi and his oral, Sophian tradition opened my heart and mind as a writer to a living voice of revelation. From the example Moses De León, he’s shown me that scripture, unlike a written score, is a chord progression revealed in our improvisation.
I am committed to all that’s yet to be sung.
With formal inventiveness and confessional precision, Elder Gideon’s second interdisciplinary collection treks through the perils of religion to the open space of the Spirit.
Weaving art, science, and ecology, three verse essays narrate the speaker’s coming of age and out as a universal process for those who must lose to find. Guided by parent peers, a Gnostic master, and wild owls, Gnostic Triptych maps a labyrinth to its divine center.
Youth are my heart and the subject of these poems. I feel a metaphysical urgency for the trauma they’re signaling, like canaries in postcolonial coal mines. Deprived of initiation, fewer are fledging.
Aegis of Waves is an interdisciplinary meditation weaving science, spirituality, and true youth stories. Centered in unconditional hope, this inquiry maps the crisis that is now both coming of age and the source of resilience.
Endorsements for Aegis of Waves
—Dr. Karanesh Kumar Agarwal
“The real pleasure of reading this book is when the reader discovers how well-crafted the individual lines are.”
—Pegasus Literary Review
Elder Gideon's poetry reminds me of Classical era educators like Marcus Fabius Quintilian, when teachers were also philosophers, moralists, and mentors. Part sociology, part pedagogy, part spiritual reflection, part exemplar in empathy--it is rare to find a book of poetry that radiates wisdom and goodwill, a book that dives so deeply into truly understanding the struggles of adolescence, class, and race. That Elder Gideon achieves this noble goal while also penning compelling poetry full of lyric and formal inventiveness is impressive indeed.
—Frank Montesonti, MFA
Director of Composition
College of Letters and Sciences
“Engaging, thought-provoking, syntactically compelling, formally rich.”
—Nick Courtright, PhD, author of The Forgotten World, Let There Be Light, and Punchline.
The poems contained in this volume are portals into the experiences and struggles of becoming whole in a fragmented world. Without losing hope and yet with a clear eye to (in)justice, the poet reminds us that each voice carries the emotional force of past and present and a yearning for a future. Pain is heard with an ear towards promise and possibility. The poet himself lives this in his work with youth whose lives are testaments to resilience and reckoning.
—Mimi Coughlin, PhD
Professor, College of Education
California State University, Sacramento
I’m drawn to these narrative poems. They are always the most memorable and relatable for me. At the same time, I’m being introduced to the other worlds of California, religion, teaching, literature, and the book brought me on a journey. I feel changed having read it, which is all you can really hope for as a writer.
—Diane Bilyak, Pushcart Prize-nominated author of Against the Turning: Poems and Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny Tales of Two Sisters
“Before any day or night there is
a brief suspense that is neither.”
Where day and night, life and death overlap is the locus of a personal essay in verse read by the author. Set to the radiant, score written and performed by Sean Wall, Owl Songs is a journey of sound and meaning that braids a speaker’s midlife with wild owl encounters. Their message is clear. Against the same clear sky that is dawn facing east or dusk facing west, a shamanic eschatology emerges as only owls can portend.
Gnosis alone can transmute anxiety and alienation. The urgent needs of all living beings do not allow time for despair but require action. To rightly act with vision and purpose as a child of the Mother comes from confidence in Her presence in all circumstances, good and bad. May we trust that we are never alone, that She is ever with us, and that righteous deeds done in a darker time shine that much more brightly. This is the essence of Her revelation to St. Juan Diego in his age and to Tau Malachi in our own. Ours is the privilege of serving not only in uncertain times but in new beginnings as well: the Age of the Holy Spirit, the Second Coming, the Sun of Flowering.
Gnosis of Guadalupe
Legends of St. John the Baptist. With Tau Malachi of Ecclesia Pistis Sophia, pending 2022
Gnosis of the Cosmic Christ. With Tau Malachi of Ecclesia Pistis Sophia, 2020
Gnosis of Guadalupe. With Tau Malachi of Ecclesia Pistis Sophia Press, Grass Valley, CA 2017
Board Secretary, Sacramento Poetry Center, September 2021-present