Author: Joshua Beckman
Publisher: Wave Books (2006)
The poems in Shake come to us directly and intimately. Generous, fervent, full of fear and persistence, they resonate with the wildness and generosity of Ginsberg, Ted Berrigan and Whitman, turning the everyday into an encompassing, harrowing, humorous, and necessary vision.
"Shake resonates, not with sentimentality, but with honesty. This work is as much an exploration of being knocked down as it is of getting up. And the success of Shake lies in that juxtaposition of the meanness of the world with flashes of power, kindness, and insight."
"Joshua Beckman, perhaps more so than any other poet of his generation, has absorbed the lessons of the part fifty years of poetry and uses them to his advantage. In his fifth book, Shake, Beckman’s untitled poems radiate with the sincerity and tragedy of Confessionalism, the romanticism and rowdiness of the Beats, the candor of the New York School, an invocation and simultaneous aversion of form worthy of both the neo-formalists and the ellipticals, and the attention to sound and politics of Language poetry. His poems, however, are more than their influences. Beckman brings an intelligence, humor, and voice that are his own. Beckman’s diction and syntax across lines forces the reader to slow down and take a harder look and a harder listen at life. These poems obsess and repeat, creating a feeling of tightness, but remain loose in tone; minimalism with maximal sensuality."