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Winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, this is the first book put out by the American Poetry Review. Selected and with an introduction by Gerald Stem. Five long poems tell, among other things, my story, the bullfighter's story, Old Watermelon Hands's story, a father's story, a son's story, your story -- our stories.
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Winner of a first book prize, this volume has surprisingly few of the flaws one would expect in a debut collection. The book contains only six longish poems, meditations and narrations told simply, directly, and with a rich sense of humor. In an elegy for poet David Avidan, after noting the disinterest of the world "at the news of your death," as children laugh and life goes on, Beckman continues: "the trees became sad,/ not all of them of course,/ but a few in every country,/ and they decided to skip summer/ and drop their leaves right then." "Purple Heart Highway" is a road trip, an adventure, and a love poem to the poet's car: "My car not up to snuff,/ putting along, bad knocking/ when I accelerate." In the end, a breakdownÄand hope: "Cars move by and in their presence/ their bright red physicality/ I believe them to be the greatest/ smoothest, most natural things ever./ There is no one to tell me this/ but everything's going to be all right." Recommended.ÄLouis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia

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