Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Tin Man by David B Austell: A Short Introduction to the upcoming book in the Nirala Series

The Tin Man,by distinguished American poet and educationist, David B. Austell, is a very moving homage to a little known but charismatic figure in the Christian biblical narratives, Saint Joseph of Arimathea.
Completed after five years of research and writing, The Tin Man is the poet’s magnum opus.Based on meticulous research in myriad source materials including archaeology, alchemy, religious texts, scrolls and murals, poetry and private writings, Austell conceives a grand narrative poem in epic style regarding the key intersections of Joseph of Arimathea’s life both with Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Palestine, and with the strange and charismatic Jesus of Nazareth. The poem explores the experiences of a dramatically flawed man, and the transmutation of his inner being in the presence of the Numinous.
Joseph of Arimathea appears as a key figure in the “passion narratives,” those sections of the four Christian Gospels that focus on the trial and death of Jesus in Jerusalem immediately prior to the celebration of the Jewish Passover in 33 A.D. It is here that we learn of Joseph’s status in the community as a wealthy man, a secret follower of Jesus, and a member of the high council of Jerusalem. It is also here that we read of Joseph’s unenviable task in the interment of the maverick rabbi who many believed to be the Son of the Living God. In the apocryphal gospels and later writings, Joseph’s influential role in the early years of the Christian Church is brought to light. For the first time, we are introduced to Joseph of Arimathea as a member of the Davidian royal family, the uncle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the great-uncle of Jesus. Later in the Vulgate, Joseph is referred to as the NobilisDecurio (Noble Decurion). Thereafter he becomes the Roman citizen, provincial Senator, and the legendary Roman superintendent of tin mining operations in the southwestern shires of England. In the final analysis, Austell writes of the life-changes that transform an arrogant and troubled man into a Christian saint, missionary, evangelist, and church leader.
The Tin Man is Joseph of Arimathea’s epic song. As the reader turns the pages, he will find a grand modern day classic which can be read as biography or eclectic rhapsody, either of which demonstrate a vital and visionary saga of great mystery and shared humanity.
An Extract from the book:

I am the Tin Man,
transformed like metal dug from the earth,
mixed and melted, transmuted by time
unloosed like a desert wild-man upon my life,
altered not by obscure incantations
murmured over steaming bronze,
but by words of calm, set alight and bursting
like Greek Fire upon my heart,
changed by love.
Like all the metal-men
who scratch the soil of Britain for the dull sift of tin,
I have been a plain and common sort,
a spirit often heavy as grey ingots of white lead,
dirty with the dust of vocation.
I have led rough and ignorant men
whose respect I earned by strength of will,
myself a man under authority
beneath the brute Roman sign of Mars.
Like them I was a tin miner
in the Jews’ town of Britain,
a Tinner of Bojewyan.
I have been many other things,
but most all these have washed away over time
like the sluicing of ore from the river beds of Cornwall.
One thing I have never been is…

Praise For
The Tin Man

“The figure of Joseph of Arimathea has always been dear to English hearts because of the age-old tradition, linked not only with Cornwall but also with Glastonbury, that he travelled here himself…Anyone reading this work will feel a great debt of gratitude to David Austell…The writing is full of music and it is music that leads us to the amazing figure of ‘The Tin Man’ so that we journey with him through history as pilgrims.”
-from the Introduction
by the Very Reverend Dr. Robert A. Willis
  Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, England

“Very compelling…an immense work…the poems are lit with primary passion, which is everything, of course.”
                                                                           -Christian Wiman

  Poet and Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature,

Yale Divinity School

“The Tin Man is a meticulously researched and masterfully written account of Joseph of Arimathea. David Austell weaves prose and poetry, history and imagination, humor and gravity into an exquisite, seamless story that is both fascinating and a pleasure to read.  David’s craft of poetry and prose here is exquisite. “
                                                                                                  -Sholeh Wolpe
  Poet, Dramatist, and Performance Artist

“The Tin Man is a fascinating collage of poetry, theology, history, epic, meditation, and engagement with large ideas.  It’s a wonderful book and unlike any other I’ve ever read.”
                                                                                                    -Kevin Prufer
  Poet and Professor of Creative Writing,
University of Houston

“Enlightening and engaging…this marvelous read introduces you to the saint evolved from a lifetime of adventures as a soldier, senator and merchant.   David Austell’s tantalizing tale, pulled from the mists of time, places flesh-and-blood on one of the central, but little known characters in the chronicles of Jesus Christ.  These incomparable, extraordinary narrative-poems shed a light on the heretofore unexplored Joseph of Arimathea as a man who sought an ordinary existence but came to believe and live the missionary life of The Way.”

-The Reverend Canon Matthew T. L. Corkern,
Rector, Calvary Church, Summit, New Jersey