Fierce poems that take us into a classroom of at-risk children, and the journey through motherhood.
“If I do not write today / I will never write another poem” – let us be grateful, then, that B. Elizabeth Beck wrote that day, and many others, resulting in the poems that make up her new chapbook, MAMA TRIED. And try she does, this mother and teacher. Perhaps the best word to describe her collection is fierce – both the poems and the poet. She writes with passion, and compassion, for her students, “Lost casualties / of a public education that speaks /about serving but never actually does / anything beyond talking”—children dealing with poverty and shattered homes and, some, the constant threat of deportation, struggling for an education in the midst of active shooter drills and a society that views them as marginal. And as the mother of a child with a blood disorder, a child she admonishes to “Quit growing up so fast”, Beck also confronts the anxiety of parenting, “a series / of choices. Where / is that handbook I / received when you / were born?” In a way, she creates a handbook here, reminding us all of the most important lesson: “don’t give up / you matter.”
B. ELIZABETH BECK is a poet who writes fiction. She is a hybrid author of seven books. The Summer Tour Trilogy includes Summer Tour (KDP 2020), World Gone Mad (KDP 2021), and Under the Elm (KDP 2022). Her books of poetry are Painted Daydreams: Collection of Ekphrastic Poems (Accents Publishing 2019), insignificant (Evening Street Press 2013), and Interiors (Finishing Line Press 2013). She achieved her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati and her M.Ed. from Xavier University. She is an award-winning English and Art History teacher. During her time at Withrow High School, she founded The Tracks literary magazine. She is the proud recipient of an Artist Enrichment Grant through the Kentucky Foundation for Women. She founded The Teen Howl Poetry Series and the award-winning Leestown OUTLOUD Poets. In between, Elizabeth likes to make art, cook, and listen to music. Visit her online at elizbeck.com