Book Review: Displays by Gary Beck


Gary Beck’s “Displays” is an important work of poetry in contemporary times of political, cultural, and social chaos that reflects eloquent abstractions and details of complex problems from a clear and insightful vantage point. One cannot escape the authenticity of Beck’s vision in capturing the minute details of the human condition that continue to worsen. His ability to frame different scenarios in single poetic displays is akin to pieces of art.

Beck is a poet of intellectual capacity and dynamic poetic flair who skillfully combines both with an objective compassion reminiscent of a man standing…watching a flight of birds in the distance…arrested by the beauty yet knowing full-well that he cannot join in the flight nor experience the sky like them but sage-like in his belief that his position affords him equal depth of diverse experiences.

The reader will find dark sarcasm in “Poetry 2005” where Beck mocks the contemporary literary scene, which is devoid of quality but overabundant with quantity:

“The guardians of poetry,
mostly self appointed,
produce polished products
that make their universities proud…”

The reader similarly cannot miss the subtle hint of romanticism tucked in “Distances.”

Beck’s discussions (in his poems) include subjects of poverty, war, 9/11, as well as environmental issues such as in the poem, “Escape…”

“If I were a fish
I wouldn’t like to be American.
Polluters and anglers
would take years off my life…”

While reading “Displays” my mind wanders in a hundred different directions and I know I am pushed to question everything that is acceptable, everything we have become numb to, and no longer see.

Definitely worthwhile and an enjoyable read; an intellectual and poetic treat.

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