Beckian Fritz Goldberg

Winner of the 2004 FIELD Poetry Prize

Paper $14.95
(ISBN 0-932440-25-8)

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"Lie Awake Lake is made out of a brilliance of thought, of heart, and of language that we find only in the truest poetry. This fierce homage to the body and to the spirit reminds me of Ettie Hillesum's letters from the transit camp at Westerbork in the Netherlands in 1942-43; it is as relentless and unmediated as if it was letters or diaries, but it is song--come to give us human animals pleasure and to help us endure."
--Jean Valentine

"There is a lot to be said for saying things straight, especially if, like Beckian Fritz Goldberg, you have the ear of an angel and a wildly passionate regard for words. I love the world rendered in Lie Awake Lake because of how carefully the poet makes me feel at home there, makes me be part of that world. This is the intimacy of romanticism: an invitation to enter the landscape of these poems, breathtakingly beautiful and resolute in their conviction that words matter, especially in the face of randomness and moral collapse. I envy these poems."
--Bruce Weigl

"Some of the most stirring language about the body I have ever read."
--Amy Bracken Sparks, Angle


It begins with something backward--
gardenia tucked behind
the ear as if scent could hear
its undoing

the fantastic bodice of a space
no larger than this plump
of sweetness, yeastlike, tropic

it begins with a turning, a trope,
that fragrance spiraling the cochlea
and the body confused by the enchantment
of the wrong orifice wrong passage--it was

after all where music should be unwinding,
cry shedding its epithelial layers, the tic-tac
of someone entreating, far away, some door...

But it was summer trying to enter, swoon its way
into the skull, the Parfum Fatale collapsing
on the organ of Corti

a secret island discovered by the Italian anatomist
of the last century though it was always there
in the body, the locus of quivering
like the letter M

deep in its alphabet, the humming
on either side. Beginning is

the flower to the ear
the flute to the palm, the glittering mirror to
the back of the head, the steaming rice and the plums
in honey

to the feet, to the vertebrae, to the pineal gland:

oblivion, oblivion, oblivion.

--Beckian Fritz Goldberg

Copyright c 2005 by Beckian Fritz Goldberg. May not be reproduced without permission.

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