Wait ‘Til You Have Real Problems

Published November 2014 by Dzanc Books.

Wait Til You Have Real Problems - front

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Scott Beal’s poems are both fiercely imaginative and “as real as the reign / of your inner confetti machine.” Whether they dream of a toy sword made of foam or a girl with barbed wire hair, their inventions speak to the deepest human fears and vulnerabilities, the largest catastrophes and tragedies, with freshness and a wild urgency. Ablaze with insights and riveting language, Beal’s “Fury Tales” are revelatory: his surprising linguistic and narrative moves elicit the unbidden traumas and dazzling weirdness of lived experience. He writes of abused children, fatherhood, the terminally ill in lines that shiver with empathy. Tender yet toughminded, heartfelt yet free of sentimentality, his poems also are gorgeously wrought: rich with music and an architectural sinew that thrills. Cool without being cold, wise but never smug, and utterly alive on the page, Scott Beal reminds me of the vast possibilities of literature–and existence. I stand in awe before such profoundly ingenious testimony to the cruelty and wonder of what-is.

–Alice Fulton, author of Barely Composed

Some poems make it their business to hate the world. Scott Beal’s do not though they can rage and grieve. In fact, these poems are the world, this book a treasure trove where nothing is beside the point–not the weird or the luscious, not the strange or familiar, not the comic or the tender. All is intricately cross-hatched and surprising in language, in the way a mind moves. This poet takes us “into the dream and the bite….” And true, maybe “the brain is a fizzy instrument/in night’s open lab” but that belies the scary grounding precision involved. Look away, then back. And welcome this work.

–Marianne Boruch, author of Speak, Cadaver

Scott Beal doesn’t just write poems. What he does is create a richly-colored world through poetry, one in which a toy sword wants to be a real one, a poem that’s had too much beer gives the reader a second-hand buzz, women give birth to cork babies (they float better than the real ones), and snails share a love that makes the Romeo and Juliet story look like a trip to the mall. Who wouldn’t want to live in such a world? I wish I could—oh, wait, I can! These poems open that door for me every time.

–David Kirby, author of A Wilderness of Monkeys