'Particularities' by Kevin Bezner
Particularities is a sad and wholesome book—sad for it recounts the griefs and sorrows of a life of want, abuse, and insecurity—wholesome because Kevin Bezner, in looking back at his life in the 1950s to the middle 1990s, observes and records his imminent mortality with an intensely emotional yet concentrated distance. This long poem skirts the boundaries of confessional poetry to make, instead, an objectified truth reminiscent of the best of William Carlos Williams's later poems, or a similar project James Laughlin was working on when he died.
Bezner offers autobiography unlike the self-referential work the MFA crowd produces. Work of elegant yet sturdy exploration, an almost scientific discernment of self and origins, and a natural and mostly unadorned language that sings with a beauty married to its open form, it flows water-like down the page, occasionally hitting boulders of prose text, and then running on.
Recounting his impoverished beginnings in which he guiltily admired those better off than he, describing the physical abuse which confirmed his worthlessness and the subtle ease with which he welcomed abuse into his relationship vocabulary, while conveying the sadness and melancholy which resulted, Bezner discovered through literature a way to a new self. His story mirrors my own which is one reason Particularities moved me so, but I think Bezner has captured a right sense of place and time, and succeeds in communicating complicated, debilitating, and eventually rewarding self-examination, into a coming-of-age wisdom with which any reader can identify.
Despite its uncovered rage, Particularities is a beautiful and lasting work. Bezner lives wholly in its pages and one can anticipate forthcoming books with pleasure. He can mend your heart as quickly as he can break it. This book should be required reading for alienated youth. Psychologists, priests, and parents should read it too. It should be written in stone within an oak grove.