By Denise Beck-Clark
CreateSpace, $14.99, 66 pages
On the back cover of Denise Beck-Clark’s book of poetry, The Zen of Forgetting: Poems, she shares her hope that readers will find her work accessible. It is refreshing to find a poet who writes what she means and doesn’t try to muddy the water with obscure language. Although more straightforward than most poetry, Beck-Clark still manages to convey intense emotion and vivid imagery in her work.
Beck-Clark’s creative and crafty gel pen doodles accompany each poem. Like an inkblot test, it is easy to see one thing in their designs and something entirely new after reading the corresponding poem. Beck-Clark sticks with a pretty traditional multi-stanza layout for her poems but her sentence structure and pacing leaves tradition behind. Some of her words have a cadence and flow that will remind readers of spoken word poetry.
Many of Beck-Clark’s poems contain lines that readers will wish they wrote themselves – she describes a “happiness so sweet that in its remembrance one’s heart wants to break” (from “Spring Afternoon”). Her description of a New Year’s Eve, a “number advances one toward the Infinite, further away from pre-history And closer to Forever.” The poem “I Remember Maxwell’s Plum” captures the multi-sensory overload that occurs when two lovers meet at their favorite “golden-lit carnival of a bar.” In “Even an Experienced Bicyclist,” readers are reminded there is no evading or hiding from what fate has in store.
Whether she is ruminating over a failing marriage, contemplating the internal war that happens as the body relaxes into sleep but the mind and psyche go into overdrive, or describing a love/hate relationship with Christmas, Beck-Clark creates poetry that readers can identify with and enjoy.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin