American Cycle by Larry Beckett (hardback)

American Cycle, a sequence of long poems inspired by our folklore and past, was written over a period of forty-seven years. Its forms are invented out of the traditions of the language, as appropriate to its subjects. Its styles are deeply connected to American speech: Spanish words loaned from Old California, the rough colloquialisms of Paul Bunyan, the power of African-American vernacular English in John Henry, the bare oratory of Chief Joseph, the old west phrases in Wyatt Earp, the circus ballyhoo of P. T. Barnum, the aviation jargon in Amelia Earhart, the backwoods dialect of Blue Ridge, and U. S. Rivers braids eyewitness history, legends, and old folk songs. Plot, as a literary device, is replaced with life, in varying shapes, and character, with the universe inside. The Cycle’s themes are love, local mythology, history, justice,memory, accomplishment, time. I hear America singing, the varied carols. . .

$47.00

Description

American Cycle, a sequence of long poems inspired by our folklore and past, was written over a period of forty-seven years. Its forms are invented out of the traditions of the language, as appropriate to its subjects. Its styles are deeply connected to American speech: Spanish words loaned from Old California, the rough colloquialisms of Paul Bunyan, the power of African-American vernacular English in John Henry, the bare oratory of Chief Joseph, the old west phrases in Wyatt Earp, the circus ballyhoo of P. T. Barnum, the aviation jargon in Amelia Earhart, the backwoods dialect of Blue Ridge, and U. S. Rivers braids eyewitness history, legends, and old folk songs. Plot, as a literary device, is replaced with life, in varying shapes, and character, with the universe inside. The Cycle’s themes are love, local mythology, history, justice,memory, accomplishment, time. I hear America singing, the varied carols. . .

6 reviews for American Cycle by Larry Beckett (hardback)

  1. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    “A magnum opus”…”A massive collection of long-form poems inspired by legendary American figures and folklore” — Kirkus Reviews

  2. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    Larry Beckett’s new big book of poetry, American Cycle, takes readers into the past and rewrites our national epic for the twenty-first century. At times, the author channels Walt Whitman, provides wonderful lists, and sings of folk heroes such as Paul Bunyan. Like Whitman, Beckett has heard many of America’s diverse voices and captures them page after page. Lyrical as well as cinematic and epical, this book honors John Henry, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, whole tribes of Native Americans, U.S. rivers, Route 66, and all manner and make of Detroit-built cars. With American Cycle, Beckett lays claim to join the company of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Fans of B.A. Botkin’s books, Pete Seeger’s ballads, and the westerns of John Ford will want to say, “Kudos to Larry Beckett.” — Jonah Raskin, author of American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation and For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman

  3. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    The [poems in American Cycle] are extraordinary, sustained explosions of authentic American language and energy. Each is entirely different from the others in style, voice, form and narrative content; each so rich in imagery and nuance and texture and event and so finely crafted that Beckett’s aspirations to be worthy of his “heroes,” Hopkins, Dickinson, Whitman and, of course, Shakespeare, seem far from unreasonable. — Paul Williams, Author of Bob Dylan: Performing Artist

  4. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    Like Melville’s potent incorporation of whalemen’s speech into Moby-Dick, Beckett’s epic markedly expands the bound and prospect of the American tongue.
    — Marc Zegans, author of The Book of Clouds

  5. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    [“U. S. Rivers”] is magnificent in scale, epic in scope, as sweeping in its historical course, as gushing in its language, as the rivers which run through it. It’s past, present, geographical, philosophical…
    –Simon Warner, Visiting Research Fellow, Leeds University; co-editor of Kerouac on Record: A Literary Soundtrack

  6. runningwildeditor@gmail.com

    [In “Paul Bunyan,”] Beckett has written a rollicking, truly inventive long poem whose lines are sustained by a brilliant haiku-syllablation (each line has 12 to 15 syllables) coupled with images that bring the Bunyan myth right into the 21st Century. — Jack Hirschman, author of The Arcanes

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