One Hand on the Wheel

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Overview


Poetry. Gay and Lesbian Studies. A gay son's troubled homage to his father, ONE HAND ON THE WHEEL is also the first book in the new California Poetry Series by Roundhouse Press a new imprint of Hayday Books. In a series of linked poems, a gay son at his father's deathbed (no accident/ it's me, Dad, your mortal enemy and friend . . . ) uncovers his family's past and his own passage from childhood to raising a son. Singular, fresh . . . [Dan Bellm] is an American artist of enormous gifts and discipline - June Jordan. Dan Bellm's courageous and human poems are a strong inauguration for the California Poetry Series. A very fine book - Adrienne Rich.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The debut collection of California poet Bellm is an extended elegy, a homosexual son's recollections of his dying father, at once bitter and sentimental in the best nostalgic mode. A clear focus to the volume unites the separate poems, all of them struggling in some sense to understand the past and its implications, however unwelcome: "No point in fighting with the dead / but still I do." The pictures that emerge are sharp, but the perspectives are skewed according to the author's own age and experiences, and this dissonance between childish dependence and adolescent rebellion provides the moral urgency driving the work. Bellm makes good use of an awkward, rather tentative voice that conveys his own confused emotions ("There should be fewer words now / for the sake of the one who has died / without a word / the way a gate shuts / the way time disappears / into heaven"), although he occasionally slips into a more straightforward declamatory mode ("She taught me to write down what I remember in a book") that tips his hand a bit too obviously. For the most part, however, Bellm's instinctive restraint, appropriate to his subject, keeps him from sinking into bathos or self-pity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780966669107
  • Publisher: Heyday Books
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Series: California Poetry Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 62
  • Product dimensions: 5.96 (w) x 7.93 (h) x 0.23 (d)

Meet the Author


Dan Bellm lives in San Francisco. His first book of poetry, One Hand on the Wheel, launched the California Poetry Series from Roundhouse Press, and his second, Buried Treasure, won the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay DiCastagnola Award and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, The Best American Spiritual Writing, and Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. He is also a widely published translator of poetry and fiction from Spanish.
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Table of Contents

Hands 3
Heaven 5
Lament 7
Homage 8
Discipline 13
Looking-glass 15
Charmed life 17
Gate of heaven 19
Consolation 23
Stones 25
Open house 27
Damage 29
I think we're alone now 33
Book of maps 36
Midrash of the abandoned child 40
Boy wearing a dress 42
Nashvillanelle 47
Fighting with the dead 48
Faint music 50
While grieving 51
Before words 57
Second son 58
Illinois River 60
Brightness 63
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