Too Harsh For Pastels Review –  LB Sedlacek

Gary Beck is not afraid to examine harsh subjects in this new collection of poems.

In “Treacherous Path” he delves into American in the 50’s:   “Somehow / poverty was ignored,” “Then television entered our homes / accompanied by advertising / promoting wondrous goods / denied previous generations,”.  It is a time capsule of a poem. 

In “Unequal Conditions” he looks at  people who can’t pay their power bill while “Ravenous Appetite” is about a hungry child in “our promised land.” “Downsized” looks at job loss.

He is very brave to write about the emergency room in a poem by the same name.

From “Emergency Room”: “I feel sick. /
I have trouble breathing. / I rush to the
emergency room. / The make me wait. /
I sit for twenty minutes / on a stained plastic
bench / retaining the liquids / of blood,
vomit, urine, / stifling my breath…”

He captures the waiting room of an ER well, the desperateness, the hope for help, the true life experience most all of us have probably endured.

In “Art for the People” he gets to the heart of just that:  introspection and art.

“Before abstract painting / people didn’t
always know / what the picture meant.”
Lines like these keep you entranced and
wanting to read more.

You can tell when reading these poems that Beck has experienced a thing or two. His poems condense or expand relationships, emotions, experiences into verses that resonate. He is articulate and seems to know just what to write.

These poems give impact, they aren’t  just made up of carelessly tossed together words. Because we are human, it’s good to have words that relate to that and everything else.

In the poem “Rigorous Journey” you will feel like you become part of it as you read it. 

“In the throb and pulse / of an
omnivorous city / we come and go /
so often unaware / of the fear, pain, death /
concealed from us by confining walls …”

This poetry book will make your heart stop, your emotions pound, your thoughts electric and that’s what poetry is meant to be.  It’s the kind of poetry book that makes you want to read or hear poems – it’s the kind of poetry book that leaves you wanting more.

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