Thursday, March 22, 2012

Poet's Spotlight: Life Through Broken Pens

Where do unrepentant poets go for rehab
When words insist on flowing through their brains like spiced rum,
Lost in smoke, scrawling mad meanderings while trawling for attention?

~Jack V. Sage

Terre Haute hardcore poet Walter Thomas Beck III provides a must-have antidote to the apathy bred from a life hooked into the Internet, the 21st century's version of the idiot box. In his 30-page chapbook, "Life Through Broken Pens" Beck expresses a desire to have poetry scribbled in public bathroom stalls, carved into the sides of park benches and spray-painted on alley walls. He wants to see poetry performed live, "with the zeal and lust of hellfire preachers."

Beck grabs the reader by the throat from the very first word of the very first poem in the chapbook, forcing a confrontation with the status quo. Beck's poem, "Revolution Summer" leads the pride parade, extolling the virtues of fifth-column activism on behalf of freaks and misfits. Beck weaves the daily frustrations of trying to "conform or be cast out" into battle hymns, using poetry as both sword and shield.

In "To Live as an American" he urges the reader to "challenge and question all authority, even if you agree with it" as an expression of ultimate patriotism, and includes Hunter S. Thompson, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Mapplethorpe in his list of patriots, making them coequal with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

Beck's scathing condemnation of "the joys of ignorance" and the "patriotic and biblical duty of absolute obedience" in his poem "Family Education" will sail past many people's heads, but if just one reader finds the inspiration to question "the hard reality of corruption and brutality" and joins the social radicals and outlaws, he will be thrilled at the success.

As if having his poetry published just in time for his birthday was not thrilling enough, Beck opted to use a portion of the proceeds from each sale to support HOPE House in Phoenix, Arizona. HOPE House supports the transgender community by providing housing and other services to people in transition. Run by Michael Eric Brown and his wife, Lillian, HOPE House provides the stability and safety that make successful transition possible.

Order "Life Through Broken Pens" today!

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