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Resonance: A Poetry Collection

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Resonance is a collection of poems that looks at individual and cultural experiences from this complicated world in which some receive rewards but others are punished and pushed to the brink of despair.


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Resonance is a collection of poems that looks at individual and cultural experiences from this complicated world in which some receive rewards but others are punished and pushed to the brink of despair.

38 review for Resonance: A Poetry Collection

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Pannett

    Resonance begins with an introduction by Gary Beck taken from his longer essay The Evolution of Poetry, and I’d like to begin this review by looking at this as I feel the content is important, not only to the author himself as it sets out his personal direction for writing, but also is relevant to the role of poetry in this twenty-first century world. ‘I must deliver what I believe to be a necessary blunt message’, says Beck who has been frequently criticised for doing just that. In turn he is sc Resonance begins with an introduction by Gary Beck taken from his longer essay The Evolution of Poetry, and I’d like to begin this review by looking at this as I feel the content is important, not only to the author himself as it sets out his personal direction for writing, but also is relevant to the role of poetry in this twenty-first century world. ‘I must deliver what I believe to be a necessary blunt message’, says Beck who has been frequently criticised for doing just that. In turn he is scathing about what he sees as ‘a type of indulgence’ whereby, in his opinion, the culture of western poetry (particularly in the States) seems to favour ‘an endless stream of ‘pictorial imagery’ based on ‘personal agonies and confessions’ which degrades ‘the uniqueness of verbal description’. This is an age, continues Beck, ‘of insecurity and danger’ in which poetry has a diminishing influence on world events. There should be alternatives, he says, ‘to academic products and disclosures of angst’. Among these alternatives are the blunt messages of ‘direct communication’. I had the pleasure last year of reviewing Gary Beck’s previous collection Conditioned Response which adopted the same hard hitting stance in its hatred of corruption, acquisition, consumption and media manipulation. Dire Prediction, the opening poem in Resonance attacks ‘bloated consumers’ and adds a plea for the return of ‘men and women/who will walk through fire, bullets, blood,/to protect us’ from the world of power where ‘men stand by the buttons/of weapons of mass destruction, eager to slay millions,/while we sit in comfort in our homes’ (Children of Deprivation) The scenario in Radiation Rhapsody is even more chilling for here we have a landscape that includes No more rush hour. No quick latte at Starbucks. Just a large crater that will glow at night for the next hundred years. Gary Beck, in his introduction, states that he may have abandoned ‘metaphor and simile’ in his preference for direct confrontation with social and political issues. Resonance, however, shows few signs of this. Certainly the language is stark but there is no shortage of lyricism. Condition Grave may attack an ‘aging land’ which is ‘tainted and diseased’ but it begins with memorable lines ‘What is the hunger of water-falls,/little men of tiny boats, flirting with whirlpools?’ Images from myths and legends are plentiful as in Mythos where the death of Balder in Asgard is a cause of lamentation as ‘the wind goes howling and shrieking/through naked trees’ and ‘The creaking of frigid limbs/splits the darkness/as the wild hunt goes on.’ The collection does also include some poems seemingly of a more personal nature. Opium Escape is one such where the narrator says ‘I watched you walk away/out of my dark, bewildered life./I cursed you then.’ I also like the imagery and lyricism of Fond Pause where memories of leaving/being left bring ‘thoughts of musty windmills,/mouse ghosts/unsqueaking in shuddering rafters’ However, it is the ‘tougher’ poems I prefer – the kind of poems Gary Beck has said he wants to write, that need to be written. Bleak Highway, I think, says it all: It is inky night. We are driving, driving, driving into the impenetrable blackness of the heart of America. There are no stars visible, just never-ending darkness broken only by the passing gleam of headlights from wanderers forever lost in a confusing land.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Bennett

    As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. On to the work! From the first poem, Dire Prediction, you will begin to grok Beck’s voice and one of his main themes, social commentary. Beck’s introduction claims a distance from ‘literary’ poetry, which is fair; however, his claim not to use literary devices such as metaphor is simply misleading, as in this from Possession: “the memory of your too brief possession As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. On to the work! From the first poem, Dire Prediction, you will begin to grok Beck’s voice and one of his main themes, social commentary. Beck’s introduction claims a distance from ‘literary’ poetry, which is fair; however, his claim not to use literary devices such as metaphor is simply misleading, as in this from Possession: “the memory of your too brief possession /paints your face upon a plaster-peeling ceiling, /splays your thighs across a molting rug /preens your breasts upon a eunuch bed, /amiable and insolent.” Thus we find Beck’s second theme, interpersonal relationships, with few holds barred. For almost shockingly simple social commentary, turn to Radiation Rhapsody. If you’re into pacifism, turn to Before They Turn to Dust. Then turn to This Is the Voice of One Man Singing - About the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. Written in slang/dialect, this is one scary insight, blending social condition and concern about war. If you’re scrolling for the tiny carps, you can stop here. Maybe an echo or two; in short, nothing. Back to the good stuff. For a poem that mixes anti-war and the human condition, turn to Rant. In Zoo Threat, we have a poem that forces an uncomfortable experience upon the reader. A favourite in this collection. For more examples of subtle metaphor, turn to Estranged, where we find this: “I touch you often, /though you never hear my fingers /whisper that I need more than your reluctant flesh/ ...” I should mention that there are some prose poems, and they are quite enjoyable as well. I had several other poems noted, but this should be enough to give you a feel for what’s on offer here. That said, how do I come up with four stars? My personal guidelines, when doing any 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. This is, imho, clearly four stars from this curmudgeon, and highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Juliet Wilson

    This collection of poetry opens with an extract from the poet's essay 'The Evolution of Poetry' in which he states: 'I found myself more concerned with the message than with the 'poetic' quality of poetry.' which later, he follows up with: 'the guardians of the gates of poetry should allow examination of the problems of the world, with direct communication, in order to extend the diminishing influence of poetry on our times.' As expected then, this is a book of pared back poetry, shorn of ornament, This collection of poetry opens with an extract from the poet's essay 'The Evolution of Poetry' in which he states: 'I found myself more concerned with the message than with the 'poetic' quality of poetry.' which later, he follows up with: 'the guardians of the gates of poetry should allow examination of the problems of the world, with direct communication, in order to extend the diminishing influence of poetry on our times.' As expected then, this is a book of pared back poetry, shorn of ornament, direct and prosaic and dealing with issues including war, drugs, animal rights and the future of the human race. There are also some poems of lost love and unsuccessful romantic relationships. Rhymes are relatively rare, though when used, are generally effective: '...who will haul away my ashes if the whole world crashes?' from Radiation Rhapsody and this from Sequoias I walk a lonely path past dying trees their limbs outstretched in supplicating pleas. I must admit though, particularly now, when so many things feel grim and depressing, that sometimes when I read poetry like this We have read about the politics, passively that bring endless armaments construction. We should heal the world of raging madness (and for all I admire Beck's engagement with issues and agree with his rejection of self-obsessed poetry) I long for the healing balm of lyric poetry and there are poets out there who combine lyricism and concern for issues. It doesn't need to be one or the other. In fact just as sugar coating can make a medicine easier to take, the right amount of lyricism can help make the message easier to absorb. So this is a book to read if you are concerned about issues, though you may want to read it in small doses, to avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the issues that our world faces.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Violetta

    When writing this collection of poetry, Gary Beck saw an area within the poetic realm where there was a lack of content. Rather than writing a book based on his own personal angst, Beck put aside the flowery details of his personal life in order to write beautiful poetry about current societal issues. I believe that the simplicity of his poetry will appeal to all readers. Gary Beck states in his introduction that he is “more concerned with the message, than the ‘poetic’ quality of the poetry”. When writing this collection of poetry, Gary Beck saw an area within the poetic realm where there was a lack of content. Rather than writing a book based on his own personal angst, Beck put aside the flowery details of his personal life in order to write beautiful poetry about current societal issues. I believe that the simplicity of his poetry will appeal to all readers. Gary Beck states in his introduction that he is “more concerned with the message, than the ‘poetic’ quality of the poetry”. While there may not be similes and metaphors in every line, Beck uses beautiful vocabulary and it is obvious that his use of diction was very well thought out. I am giving Resonance a 5 out of 5; I love poetry that is free-verse, where there are no rhymes present. Beck does not use rhymes, which I believe gives the work a much more powerful effect on the reader. Beck is a truly brilliant poet; his work is not overly embellished, but rather, it withholds powerful imagery for cultural experiences within our society. DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ally Barber

    The world that we live in today really just seems to be getting more brutal and more horrific. From mass shootings to bigoted politicians to rampant injustice, it feels like we are on a downward trajectory towards who knows what. In Resonance, Gary Beck masterfully explores our world by taking a look at current issues that plague our society. Gary Beck’s poetry is simple in the best way, allowing the reader to focus on his message rather than the mechanics of traditional poetry. Beck’s diction i The world that we live in today really just seems to be getting more brutal and more horrific. From mass shootings to bigoted politicians to rampant injustice, it feels like we are on a downward trajectory towards who knows what. In Resonance, Gary Beck masterfully explores our world by taking a look at current issues that plague our society. Gary Beck’s poetry is simple in the best way, allowing the reader to focus on his message rather than the mechanics of traditional poetry. Beck’s diction is powerful and obviously quite thoughtfully chosen. The collection moves easily and seamlessly, keeping the reader continuously engaged. I really enjoyed the free verse style of the poetry as it further allowed the reader to really appreciate the message of the work. Overall, I would recommend Resonance to anyone who is a fan of poetry or works that deal with societal issues. The overall collection is very powerful and beautiful in its wording and would be a great addition to any bookshelf full of poetry. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    As an English major, it may be shocking that I do not really like poetry. The only poetry I have ever actually enjoyed reading was Paradise Lost my junior year of college (probably because it was an epic and not a collection of short poems, but also because Milton’s writing is amazing.) That being said, I gave Resonance a fair chance. While I can definitely say that poetry is just not my preferred genre, I did think the Beck’s writing was great and I liked how prolific his collection was. I thin As an English major, it may be shocking that I do not really like poetry. The only poetry I have ever actually enjoyed reading was Paradise Lost my junior year of college (probably because it was an epic and not a collection of short poems, but also because Milton’s writing is amazing.) That being said, I gave Resonance a fair chance. While I can definitely say that poetry is just not my preferred genre, I did think the Beck’s writing was great and I liked how prolific his collection was. I think for those of you who do enjoy poetry—you will certainly like reading Resonance. His work was also very eclectic, which I appreciated, ranging from historical events to death, and even baseball. My favorite poem was “Poet Agonistes”; I’m clearly a huge Milton fan:) Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anonymous

    I found this collection to hold the author’s voice and opinions throughout each piece. The introduction is something I highly suggest reading, as it gives the reader a much greater insight on the author, his thoughts, and where he was going with this particular collection. I feel as though, if I hadn’t taken a moment to read the introduction, I might have been a little lost on some of the poems within the book. That being said, I feel the author has a powerful way of phrasing his work that allows I found this collection to hold the author’s voice and opinions throughout each piece. The introduction is something I highly suggest reading, as it gives the reader a much greater insight on the author, his thoughts, and where he was going with this particular collection. I feel as though, if I hadn’t taken a moment to read the introduction, I might have been a little lost on some of the poems within the book. That being said, I feel the author has a powerful way of phrasing his work that allows for the greatest impact and connection for the reader. He focuses on current issues and injustices that plague our modern world. I highly recommend this poetry work. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I found this collection of poetry by Gary Beck to be very engaging and well-written. The imagery, which was one of the most striking aspects of the collection, was constructed from excellent diction and syntax. I especially liked lines such as “Rains falls in blackening drops, / the coat of daytime slime creeps into sewers / that carry off the remains of man.” The emotions of the poems, especially those concerning love, were easily recognizable and relatable. Admittedly some of the poems seemed I found this collection of poetry by Gary Beck to be very engaging and well-written. The imagery, which was one of the most striking aspects of the collection, was constructed from excellent diction and syntax. I especially liked lines such as “Rains falls in blackening drops, / the coat of daytime slime creeps into sewers / that carry off the remains of man.” The emotions of the poems, especially those concerning love, were easily recognizable and relatable. Admittedly some of the poems seemed a little short and didn’t offer enough details for me to grasp their message or story; however, I really enjoyed the collection overall. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alison McBain

    I am a poet as well as a fiction writer, but I must admit I am a little bit lazy when it comes to searching out new poets on my own. I mostly rely on recommendations from friends (and on my friends themselves, some of whom are amazing poets!). So it was with great pleasure that I picked up Gary Beck's new collection of poetry, titled Resonance. I'm always pleased to be introduced to a new talent, and Mr. Beck certainly delivers. I really enjoyed Mr. Beck's turn of phrase and ability to explore th I am a poet as well as a fiction writer, but I must admit I am a little bit lazy when it comes to searching out new poets on my own. I mostly rely on recommendations from friends (and on my friends themselves, some of whom are amazing poets!). So it was with great pleasure that I picked up Gary Beck's new collection of poetry, titled Resonance. I'm always pleased to be introduced to a new talent, and Mr. Beck certainly delivers. I really enjoyed Mr. Beck's turn of phrase and ability to explore the darkest of ideas with a grace that surpassed the ideas themselves. If you'd like to learn more about the book and its author, I've written a full review at the ezine Bewildering Stories.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    I enjoyed this collection of poems. I don't read too many book like this but when I find them I have to give them a shot. I was not disappointed in this one. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review* I enjoyed this collection of poems. I don't read too many book like this but when I find them I have to give them a shot. I was not disappointed in this one. * I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Cisneros

  13. 4 out of 5

    Micielle

  14. 4 out of 5

    Terry Pearson

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kara

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Reader

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl Bradley

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stacia Chappell

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kim Friant

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pam Mooney

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Obrien

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pam

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nora

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ted

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Heare Watts

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debee Sue

  27. 4 out of 5

    Louise Carlson Stowell

  28. 5 out of 5

    ed Lucas

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  30. 5 out of 5

    D

  31. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  32. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  33. 4 out of 5

    Leland Lee

  34. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Leivestad

  35. 4 out of 5

    Mars Wilson

  36. 4 out of 5

    Mara

  37. 4 out of 5

    Roxanne

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jillian Easton

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