A Brief History of Time, Beers’ first collection of poetry, is at once an exploration of what it is to grow up in rural America and a treatise for social justice. These poems, many of them award-winning, span a wide range of styles—from plainsong free verse to sestinas to nearly epic works.
The characters/speakers in Beers’ poems range from the rural working class to mythological characters. These poems look at the world with an honest, unflinching eye. She is one of the up-and-coming poets from Generation X we will be hearing a great deal from in the future.
‘A Brief History of Time promises scope and Shaindel Beers delivers. Her strong first book goes beyond the farm girl who escapes and has love affairs. This young woman writes poems crammed with the beauty, irony, and sadness of the world: crummy jobs, meanness, illness, loss, and all the perspective they bring. The free verse is crafted and the sestinas are strong narratives. As Beers says in one poem, “I try to use old words...and make them say new things.” She succeeds!’ —Penelope Scambly Schott, author of A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award in Poetry
‘There is an intimate immensity, as Gaston Bachelard called it, in Shaindel's vision. Her poems are meeting places where the personal and the cosmic touch, where the body and the sky seem to inhabit the same skin. They are poems that take you to "worlds you / have never known," as she says in one poem, because we have never seen them the way this exciting young poet has. The difficulty is that this world is always in flux and it is the job of these sometimes formal, sometimes freely drawn poems, to give us this world in a language that extends beyond the moment, something she accomplishes by quick turns and associations. As she suggests in her opening poem, she is out "to change / history, by writing these untruths" that turn out to be truths of the heart, the truths of a truly remarkable and valuable poetic vision.’ —Richard Jackson
‘The stories in these poems are as sinuous as the syntax that threads them, stitching together an autobiography whose questions of gender, race, and class remain open, while the poems containing them are as strong as the steel door of time.’ —Natasha Sajé, author of Red under the Skin, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Bend, winner of the Utah Book Award for Poetry.
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