THE ZEN OF FORGETTING by Denise Beck-Clark


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In this collection of narrative poems, Beck-Clark produces a visual array of life moments, turning points and wisdom.

Beck-Clark finds power inside the five senses, building vividly colorful landscapes and crisp sounds to draw readers in. Beginning the collection with a graphic narrative of a bicycle accident, Beck-Clark introduces the theme of death and the temporary nature of all life, a thread that runs throughout the book. Whether speaking about health, friends’ unwise marriages, dreams or childhood memories, the author addresses aging and the grace of wisdom that can act on anyone who grows older with an open mind and open eyes. In “I remember Maxwell’s Plum” and elsewhere, Beck-Clark’s use of imagery delivers poignant verses with sharp alliteration and soundplay to awaken readers’ senses: “Then, the sprawling streetlight and / Traffic light colors zigging and zagging….We sipped the liquid candy, laughing, / Humming, slipping quarters into the juke box.” Beck-Clark punctuates her poems with striking pen drawings that feel partially mosaic and geometric while also celebrating flows, cycles and shapes. The color drawings are similar in theme and motif but markedly different, serving as breaks between the often poignant poems. The author concludes the collection with a poem about her son and the lifelong struggle between nature and nurture, between protection and empowerment. This last poem, “Special Needs Mom,” succinctly ties together the collection, ending on a universal and positive theme of love. Overall, with its conversational tone, stimulating images and sounds, the collection succeeds in depicting universal themes within particular, personal moments.

A short, confessional collection of imagery-driven poems.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1484961841
Page count: 66pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2014


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