Heroic Measures

Overview

David Bergman's new collection, Heroic Measures, opens with a section of poems that speak directly of male relationships and desire. A second grouping depicts images of art, giving us glimpses of Goya, Eakins, Mozart, and Mapplethorpe. Other poems provide an enlightening journey into religion and myth. In the final section, Bergman turns to his family, with poems about his parents, their aging, and his childhood. The result of this structure is to show the course of a life as a progression backward and forward, ...
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Overview

David Bergman's new collection, Heroic Measures, opens with a section of poems that speak directly of male relationships and desire. A second grouping depicts images of art, giving us glimpses of Goya, Eakins, Mozart, and Mapplethorpe. Other poems provide an enlightening journey into religion and myth. In the final section, Bergman turns to his family, with poems about his parents, their aging, and his childhood. The result of this structure is to show the course of a life as a progression backward and forward, the journeying, the false starts and successes of the pursuit of love and the practice of art set against the dangers and structures of the past and present.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Towson State English professor and editor of numerous anthologies of gay fiction, Bergman (Cracking the Code) relies on his superb knowledge of traditional prosody in the various forms he so purposefully explores in this, his second collection. The short dialogue between Death and a beautiful Young Man, which opens the volume, sets the elegiac tone for a dozen or so graceful poems about AIDSþfrom a witty portrait of a wild transvestite who died by accident, unlike his co-workers at the hair salon, each dead by disease, to a narrative about taking part in a clinical study of HIV. þDays of the 1970sþ tells the history of the decade simply by its clever rhymes: þAIDS,þ þescapades,þ þparades,þ and þraids.þ Cats figure in poems about desertion by a lover and about memory of a friend recently dead. Bergmanþs þtransgressionsþ against þentropyþ include smart lyrics about grubs at night, planting a garden, a mockingbird that sounds like a car alarm, and a group of poems inspired by art and travel. A skilled narrative artist, Bergman tells the chilling tale of a psychic, consulted by the police, who realizes that a missing boy was killed by his mother, and he also captures the voice of a female primatologist who prefers her monkeys to men. Poems about his aging father, including the wonderful title piece, combine Bergmanþs campy charms with his expressive clarity: While his father asks that no þheroic measuresþ be taken to sustain his life, his son preserves that life quite elegantly in his own strong measures.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814207833
  • Publisher: Ohio State University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.84 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bergman

David Bergman is professor of English at Towson University. The editor of The Violet Quill Reader, he has won awards for his collection of poems, Cracking the Code, his book Gaiety Transfigured: Self-Representation in Gay American Literature, and for editing the anthology Men on Men 2000.

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Table of Contents

Death and the Young Man 3
Benny 4
Old Voices at a New Number 6
The Window 9
The Wrath of Medea 11
In the Waiting Room 12
Days of the 1970s 16
The Care and Treatment of Pain 17
A Dream of Nightingales 20
A Part for Horn 21
In the Summer Crucible 27
Planting the Garden 28
The Fury of Flowers 30
Mockingbird Moderne 31
Bonzai for Beginners 32
Goya's Enlightenment 36
Pictures at an Eakins Exhibition 37
Two Muses 38
A World of Difference 40
The Path of Least Resistance 45
The Great Trans-Atlantic Hot-Air Balloon Race 46
The North Country 48
Thanksgiving in Bucks County 54
Tom's Cove, Assateague 55
Crazy Woman Falls, Wyoming 57
While Sodom Was Occupied 61
The Guide of Tiresias 62
Second Sight 63
Field Notes 67
The Witness to the Arrest 72
The Psalm of Prometheus 73
My Father Almost Ascending 77
A Father's Blessings 78
Daughters Denying the Dreams of Their Father 80
The Gifts of Greece 82
Primal Scene 83
Heroic Measures 84
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