Trinity Star Trinity
Trinity Star Trinity
Limited to 27 copies; bound in full black morocco with handmade Cave endpapers, silvered edges, presented in a slipcase.
– Sold out
Standard hardback edition
Limited to 216 copies; bound in azure silk cloth with textured black endpapers, and dustjacket.
Bibliothèque Rouge edition
Premium paperback, 100 gsm paper; isbn 978 1 912316 11 3
8vo (153 × 135 mm)
Katy Bohinc’s Trinity Star Trinity is a long poem dedicated to the divine feminine, written in response to her experiences and encounters with faith and deity during a sojourn on the islands of Lesvos, the home of Sappho; Samos, the birthplace of Hera; and Patmos, where St John wrote the Book of Revelation. Bohinc ‘embraces Sappho’s conception of desire – rather than John’s defamatory take,’ and the poem bears witness to her interest in astrology, triangles, and early mathematics. Yet the esoteric nature of this material is made startlingly tangible and present by the candid language of the poem, and in its formal structure. Above all, ‘its beauty comes from how the language might rise off the page.’
With Trinity Star Trinity Katy Bohinc has reclaimed the ancient form of the ode or chant in an Oulipian mathematical reinvention which transports faith and the trinity to an expanded dimension: three cubed, or 27 poems of 27 words each.
Trinity Star Trinity
3 cubed / 3 times 3 times 3
27 poems of 27 words each
Drempt * Written * Cast
on the islands of
Lesvos * Samos * Patmos
Trinity Star Trinity began on Patmos. To Greece for a wedding and stayed on, first to Sappho’s birthplace on the island of Lesvos, then to the island of Samos, the birthplace of Hera. The temple which marks Hera’s birthplace was once nine times the size of the Parthenon. If Sappho is the best poet to ever live and the hero of desire (a-directional, desire for desire’s sake, if you will), Hera was her predecessor. Prior to Hera’s dethronement at the table of the gods by Zeus, humanity (as far back as recorded) was primarily led by female gods representative of mother earth or the moon.
A hurricane stateside left me in an Odyssean détourned return, and I spent the next week on overnight boats to Patmos, Kos and Nisyros, before my flight was rescheduled. I considered it most literally a gift from the gods. On Patmos, where St John (a patron saint of writers) brought Christianity to Greece and wrote the Book of Revelation, Trinity Star Trinity began as a reaction and digestion of my experiences of the histories of deity and practices of faith encountered on my short voyage.
At the Monastery of St John I loitered around and managed to obtain an invite to one of three daily prayer sessions performed year-round at sunrise, sunset and midday. In full dress, chant and incense/candle ritual, each of three daily sessions lasts an hour. Only a few local devotees were present. Older women. I noticed one, hunched, eyes closed, performing the ritual ‘Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen’ across her chest, not once, but nine times in repetition. Nine? Three or even six would not have surprised me, as Orthodox tradition is full of symbolic three repetitions, and sometimes six to note the pair, as in a wedding. But nine was new. I surmised it must be three times three. One three for each symbol: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Lord, flesh, and spirit. And it occurred to me that I was looking for not three times three, but three cubed. Three times three times three would actually be a more perfect symbolic representation of each facet of the trinity. And coincidentally my lucky number has always been 27 (3 cubed). I felt I knew why that had always been and my head span and Trinity Star Trinity was born in concept and form.
I did not care for the Book of Revelation. It was ‘superlative smite’ to quote the poem. Masculine, traditionalist in the worst sense, and apocalyptic. Having been to Patmos I will never again proclaim apocalypse in America; it is too passé. Everyone in every century has already done it. I imagined John as a Jesus groupie who wanted to go back to an old form amidst the Roman ‘moderns’ to keep the old alive, 0ne thousand years after. Of course, I do the same, trying to revive a concept of what it was to live at the time of Sappho or when Hera was queen, but, there is only room for one of us. And in my poem John is out. A New Age is in, to mock myself, where faith as experienced is a devotion of awareness (modern), but without critical distance (tradition), including multiple agencies (both she who prays and whom she prays to embrace each other’s energies), which grows the fourth dimension: intuition (where spirit is felt). The poem also embraces Sappho’s conception of desire – rather than John’s defamatory take – as well as the Greek (and prior to Greek, and after Greek) interest in astrology, triangles, early mathematics, and Platonic concepts of the ideal. Faith is more than a trinity: as a symbolic object it has four dimensions. Mathematically we say, ‘it is cubed.’
The language of the poem is quite simple. A few Greek words for their sounds and particular concepts, but it is primarily a repetitive prayer or ode. Ultimately its beauty comes from how the language might rise off the page to embrace a feeling, as many other chants before it. The feeling is the love of devotion or faith, and I hope its vibe can be felt; a 4-D effect also embodied by its formal structure. It prefers optimism and possibility to the damnation of John. But he may remain a patron saint of writers, a holiday celebrated on the 27th of December each year. A fitting date. I must admit, the Monastery of the Apocalypse did indeed inspire in me a revelation.
Finally, thanks is due the truly kind M Magnus whose deep knowledge of pre-Socratic Greece helped shape my wanderings. The sigils included are inspired by and dedicated to him. The poem, above all, is for Hera.
Poetic invocation of Trinity Star Trinity performed by the author on 23rd February 2018 at Treadwell's Bookshop, London.