‘Fault Lines’ by Gary Beck: A Review

January 4, 2017 Book Reviews , Poetry , POETRY / FICTION




Sheila Scobba Banning



Gary Beck Holds the Mirror

All art is political. Even the lightest rhyme or the simply decorative painting is infused with the values and beliefs of its creator. Our time, this time, sometimes feels like a time-bomb, and that is exactly what Gary Beck is serving up in his new poetry collection, Fault Lines.

Beck’s unflinching examination sounds the alarms we may not be prepared to hear about the “ministers of greed” and “lords of profit,” but though his themes echo though the book like a drumbeat, Fault Lines is more than a didactic diatribe.

The fracturing nature of war is shown from many angles, but the widening cracks in the social contract do not escape Beck’s scrutiny. The exploitation of child soldiers, the torment that breeds school shooters, the daily details of homelessness, and the view from opposite sides of the vast chasm of income disparity, perspectives lost in translation, all get their turn.

Scathing commentary can pivot suddenly to rebuke the sympathetic reader: “When Iran issued plastic keys/to open the gates of heaven/for thirteen-year-old children/who cleared Iraqi minefields/by sacrificing their bodies,/there were no outraged protests.“ Beck demands that the reader do more than see the carnage; he calls us to look at ourselves – and to act.

For all the explicit focus on the shifting tectonic plates of political corruption and human indifference, the author does not abandon lyrical expression, using his phrasing (“the diminishing fruits/of the devolving earth.”) to elevate his message and draw sharp contrast with the ugliness he is compelled to show us.

There is fear and despair in these pages, anger and anxiety, but the reader willing to follow Gary Beck’s gaze, to see the world through his eyes, will find something more. In a time filled with uncertainty, there is a comfort in standing side-by-side, not alone in bearing witness to the faults.





Fault Lines is published by Winter Goose Publishing and can be purchased here.






gary beck

Gary Beck

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 11 published chapbooks and 3 more accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions (Winter Goose Publishing). Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). Resonance (Dreaming Big Publications). His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) and Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing). Call to Valor will be published by Gnome on Pigs Productions and Acts of Defiance will be published by Dreaming Big Publications. His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). Now I Accuse and other stories will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.




Sheila Scobba Banning

Sheila Scobba Banning is the author of Terroir, Intersections, and The Carter Bros YA mystery series.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.