The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks

The Lives of the Poems and Three Talks

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Author: Joshua Beckman

Publisher: Wave Books (2018)

During 2014, Wave Books editor Joshua Beckman traveled around the country giving lectures on poetry. Collected here as two books in conversation—and inaugurating Wave’s Bagley Wright Lecture Series publications—these talks provide a rare and unique insight into a deeply literary life. In The Lives of the Poems, Beckman offers three variations of the same talk that—through repetition and adjustment, a sort of echolocating—illuminate the intimate experience of making a particular set of poems. In Three Talks, he explores the fluid social dynamics of poetry as it lives between readers, poems, and books.

"Beckman’s talks and poetry are based on what he perceives spontaneously in things when they are encountered in the moment—and his confidence in doing so, despite his illness, does not allow for a tragic sensibility. If poetry is an art that expresses unease at the limitations of institutionalized thought and operates among neighbors who have lost a feel for the totality of human experience, it is also the memory of that loss and works to reestablish contact with the actual."

–Ron Slate