This is a cut&paste of a review posted on Amazon and GoodReads. I’ve reviewed Beck a few times (books,) and he never disappoints. Here’s the review:
social commentary, experience, and a trace of sex nicely done.
A review is one person’s view of a work and reflects both the work and the reviewer’s prejudices and limitations. So, as always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. Let’s get to Beck’s work, some one hundred and seven poems.
Social commentary is here mixed in with the human condition. For example, Decline, where the wold gets larger because of the amount of it that one may not be able to witness.
For a short experience, turn to Pretty Picture, which ends thus: “then the unexpected rainbow /and the squirrel of evening, /perched on dead sunset limb, /jabbering of sleep to come.”
Again in Loss we have social commentary made personal.
I mentioned sex earlier, and Commerce is a fine example. Beck flips expectations slightly, thus being clever instead of cliché. For example, “proffer perfumed breasts /reaching for my hands.” Again in Detached: “You accidentally shift /on purpose. /Your soft back/ touches my unmoving hand. /I am tempted to pet your belly….”
Beck can rhyme perfectly when he chooses to do so, as in the short neat poem Commuter Line. I’ve been in Norwalk, Connecticut, once and long ago on a one week course. It is a very wealthy bedroom community (four acres to build a house in the suburbs) grown up around a small village. I can’t give you the force of this work without giving you pretty much all of it, so when you get this book, turn to this poem and see how nicely Beck merges social commentary with personal experience.
For another interesting comment on sex and desire, turn to Woman, which opens thus: “I can do without you no longer….” There are other ‘interesting’ pieces I could mention, but I’ll move on.
For a punch in the gut, turn to Profile of a Failure, which has a surprise ending.
I think the above should provide a decent feel for this book.
Given all that, how do I manage to come up with a star count? My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. Beck is for sure extremely good. Four stars feels right to me; your personal rating may well be higher. And, there are a lot of poems here to choose from. Your favourites may be different from mine.
Kindle Book Review Team member.