All posts by GaryCBeck

Review of my collection Fault Lines by Sam Rose of Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine

Fault Lines Review – Sam Rose/Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine
Feb 2017 (Iss 22)

Fault Lines, and this 2016 collection published by Winter Goose tackles
the big issues in the world today – war, terrorism, politics, and homelessness,
to name a few. And although at first the subject matter may sound a little grim,
the poetry is so polished and satisfying to read. My personal favourite is
‘Symphony of the City’, which is the first poem in the book, and beautifully
describes the sounds of urban life.

Not only do the poems in this collection highlight the ‘fault lines’ of our
modern world, but in doing so they serve to make the reader more aware of
current events, and they can inspire the reader to do something to make a
change – however small. And yes, we are all already aware of what’s going on
in the world – war overseas, violence in our own countries, and crime taking
place in our own local communities. But how much attention do we really pay
to the news, and how desensitised have we become to it? If this is all the ‘new
normal’, perhaps we need a wake-up call to remind us that this shouldn’t be
our normal, that the world could be a much better, safer place, and that we
should never stop trying to make it so.

Sure, if you’re looking for a lighter read this might not be the right book to pick
up. But in a world of fake news and alternative facts, if you’d prefer to read
something that’s honest and forthright but written creatively and poetically,
this is for you.

A review of my poetry collection, Tremors, by Jill Lapin-Zell

In his introduction to this volume (which is actually an excerpt from “Raw Realism A Poetry Manifesto”), Mr. Beck lauds the French symbolist poets and the Beats as groundbreakers in free verse. These frontrunners of their forms were never appreciated until after their times had passed. I think it is fitting that this poet gives a well-deserved nod to the greats since his work, like theirs, shows that the poet takes risks in his writing…risks which he pulls off successfully.

This volume of poems is comprised largely of poems concerning social commentary of our times. He shows us how man is more concerned about egos and material possessionsthan mankind’s well-being (“Surrender”), (“The Way of The World”). In “Loss”, he says that “hopes have been curdled by too much desire for material things.”

He gives us a realistic yet bleak outlook of what technology and nuclear capability have done to civilization and human existence, not merely for shock value, but for a genuine wake-up call to all of us who care about life on this planet. In “Evolution”, he tells us that we are “a civilization gone entirely mad” but that all is not hopeless. If we still maintain faith, we can hold out against injustice (“Tyranny”), (“Eternal Struggle”), and in“The 20th Century,” the speaker reminds us that it was “the most inventive century,” yet ironically the same one which has enabled war and mass destruction.

All is not so bleak in Mr. Beck’s poems. There is optimism in “Youthful Song” in which he is “led by newfound power I sing of spring and vision greatness” while in the past, he “only gradually saw” such a vision. But we are cautioned, because in the poet’s view, redemption is not to be found in education, of which he is critical in “Adult Education,” citing “student’s vacuity” and “teacher’s indifference, the waste of passion.”

The social commentary motif is tempered well with pieces that seem more personal in nature, such as “Uplift,” “Inamorata,” “Seduced,” “Inertia” and “Flashback”. Thematically, this gives the reader a nice juxtaposition to those poems that carry a more foreboding tone.

Such a balance provides the reader with an overarching volume that covers topically important issues, while at the same time allowing a glimpse into a poet’s innermost feelings.

By Jill Lapin-Zell
Author of Vanishing Into Life

A Review of my poetry collection, Virtual Living, by the distinguished writer Tom Sheehan

Here, in Gary Beck’s plotting of poetry, Virtual Living, his modern look at current living modes and methods that come to flood our life lines, each page with its uniform layout. It has newspaper headlines, a drawing-up of concrete structures, concrete living, concrete beliefs that broadcast the stilted, clinical life about us, the life that lies ahead for those of us unable to feel emotion, use it, embrace it with open arms.

Heed the alert. Be sure to see what is conveniently planned, projected, placed about us with stifling cement block structures.

Hear me: hear his words: hear what he places between the lines, neat asides for your discovery. Believe they are coming, what he declares them to bring if there’s no emotion, the mind broken from impairment, broken from place, free to feel the edges all the way around.