By Joshua Beckman
Publication Date: April 1, 2009
ISBN# 9781933517377 (5x7 72pp, paperback and limited edition hardcover)
Take It is a gift of expansive and expressive generosity. The poems masterfully combine traditional and contemporary concerns and speech in attending to a degraded, yet wondrous world.
Joshua Beckman’s Take It is full of the sort of casually brilliant poems that keep you loving poetry. Witty, contemporary, wry and compassionate, it just gets better with every reading.
Nathan Thompson, Stride Magazine
In what may be his best book, Beckman wistfully takes to the road and does the incredible work of writing poems full of desire, for a world in the midst of radical upheaval.
Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
If you take a broad squint at our nation’s new poets you can find two general strategies: poets who are carrying the torch, and poets who are using it to start fires. And then we have Joshua Beckman.
Daniel Handler, The Believer
In the three years since his previous book, Shake, it would seem that Beckman’s voice has aged about thirty years. Some will call it a coming into his own, a fulfillment, reaching full maturation. But I am inclined to describe it as an awakening.
Colin Huerter, MAKE Literary Productions
He had a down-to-earth appeal that is often missing in the (at times) highfalutin literary world...
Susie DeFord, BOMBlog
There are moments in life when you encounter a book or album or piece of art that fundamentally changes the way you read or talk or think. Take It is one of those books for me. Beyond being Beckman’s best work or something fresh and unique in the crowded space of contemporary poetry, the book reminds of what exactly poetry can do: turning the understated into something unforgettable.
Tim Lockridge, Corduroy Books Blog
Beckman’s genuine sorrow and grim perception create an impassioned dialogue between the values the Romantics held dear (love of truth, beauty, Nature) and a modern world that could care less.
Virginia Konchan, Rattle Magazine
Joshua Beckman’s fourth collection consists of a book-length lyric sequence that roams from the personal to the social to the cosmic. In voices ranging from the jaunty to the wise, addressing figures both named and unnamed, Beckman unites the sharply honed attention of Dickinsonian lyricism (“There are times when one’s attention / is taken by beautiful things / most fully, I imagine, in loss”) to the bravado of Whitmanian expansion (“In Colorado, in Oregon, upon / each beloved fork, a birthday is celebrated. / I miss each and everyone of my friends. / I believe in getting something for nothing”). This ineffable “something” recurs consistently throughout Take It, but rather that diffuse meaning, it compels the numerous speakers, as well as the reader, to seek out what “something" might be: an “ether acre,” “they mask,” “the grief of the body,” “a God concerned with only weather,” or “full of only silence.”
American Poet Vol. 37, Fall 2009
Joshua Beckman’s fifth collection of poetry, Take It, a title suggesting both offer and imperative, is the product of a big heart and a far-ranging imagination. Published without titles, the poems read like non-sequiturs, each one unfolding with peculiar associations of imagery and thought.
Jason Tandon, NewPages
[Beckman’s] poems impress variously and enduringly, but it’s their range that astonishes foremost. In sixty-two pages—and with plenty of white space leftover—Beckman runs a dizzying gamut of images and motives. He’ll conjure his inner curmudgeon only to banish him in the next couplet. He’ll wax rhapsodic and then sardonic about love, children, the state of the nation, seventies cult classics, bananas. You want brio? He can do brio, but he’ll just as soon collapse under exhaustion. Beckman’s no schizoid; he’s just talented, is all.
Dan Piepenbring, The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog
Joshua Beckman was born in New Haven, Connecticut. He is the author of nine books, including The Inside of an Apple, Take It, Shake, Your Time Has Come, and two collaborations with Matthew Rohrer: Nice Hat. Thanks. and Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty. He is an editor at Wave Books and has translated numerous works of poetry and prose, including Micrograms, by Jorge Carrera Andrade, 5 Meters of Poems (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) by Carlos Oquendo de Amat and Poker (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008) by Tomaž Šalamun, which was a finalist for the PEN America Poetry in Translation Award. Most recently, he has co-edited Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners (Wave Books, 2015). He is also the recipient of numerous other awards, including a NYFA fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Seattle and New York.
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