Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another Shadow by Tom Beckett (Precipitous Inklings)

Tom Beckett has a new e-book available called Another Shadow. You would do well to avail yourself.

As it happens, Ron Silliman recently adverted a review of Geoff Young's work by Terrence Winch, which, tangent to this tho it be, is worth a look. Winch writes, "In a universe of very needy and ambitious writers, these brave souls will be seen primarily in their role as servants to the needy." With both Young and Beckett, I knew them first as publishers, excellent ones. It is nice to see some sense of their worth as writers come to the fore. Anyway, the appearance of Tom's book engenders a few general thoughts.

First, his tendency to write in short lines, brief nuggets. Writers come to mind: Niedecker, Corman, Raworth, Zukofsky. The impulse behind each writer is different but there seems to be a coincidence of effect, as one reads these trimmed and salient works. I mean the metre of the short line, for one thing. Energy coalesces in the words hung nakedly in the white space.

As I read thru the works in Another Shadow, I am aware of the meaning in the white space that Tom carefully protects. Much resides in that white space. There is a time signature there, not strictly a matter of beats. Page as stanza, or measure.

The reader has to respect the beats, read carefully and slowly. Even tho there is much nervous energy involved in the writing.

Years ago, Peter Ganick remarked that his own work was philosophy. I take that to mean that not just aesthetic issues are at work (or play) but that a manner of thinking and discovery also occurs. Tom Beckett's work is implacable in its persistence to extend into if not resolve issues of body and mind. This is a constant in Tom's work. We read an involvement, set to a measure. The Internet has allowed Tom Beckett to blossom as a writer, to find a greater audience for his own work. It is about time.
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