Life and Poetry of John Beecher (1904-1980): Advocate of Poetry as a Spoken Art

Author: Dickson, Foster J.
Year:2009
Pages:148
ISBN:0-7734-4654-0
978-0-7734-4654-0
Price:109.95
This work is a two-part overview to this writer, poet, journalist, activist, and sociologist. The introduction covers some background on how scholars and academics have neglected Beecher, for a variety of possible reasons. Part one consists of a biography that centers on Beecher’s working life, only briefly discussing his four marriages and only mentioning that he had four children. Part two covers a sampling of his poetry, offering explications and critical analysis that point to the conclusion that Beecher should not have been neglected or omitted from literary study to the extent that he has been. The afterword discusses the author’s experiences during his research process, including meeting Beecher’s widow Barbara. Overall, the work is intended to reintroduce John Beecher to the literary community and incite further discussion about him.

Reviews

“In addition to the life, Dickson explicates the poetry, in the context of critical condemnation, and sometimes, of praise. It is remarkable that using the same English language, critics could produce such wildly varying judgments. Dickson carefully and diligently explores the development and promulgation of “the canon,” so devised by bourgeois scholars as to entirely exclude Beecher, and others who shared his aesthetics. Bizarrely, these adverse critics denied that Beecher had an aesthetic, or was even a poet at all.” – Fred Whitehead, Ph.D., Columbia University

“. . . makes a compelling case for Beecher and argues successfully that he deserves much more attention from modern readers and critics alike.” – Prof. Jeffrey Melton, Auburn University

“Dickson not only used the standard library sources but sought out people who knew Beecher and looked at their private collections of memorabilia. Since little has been written on Beecher, Dickson’s work is important.” – Prof. Barbara Wiedemann, Auburn University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. Fred Whitehead
1. Introduction
2. Early Life
3. A Shift in Focus
4. A Hard Road
5. Recognition At Last
6. Decline and Virtual Disappearance
7. Current Neglect and Exclusion
8. Absence from the Canon
9. The Poetry
10. Conclusion
11. Afterword
Bibliography