WINNER OF THE A. POULIN, JR. POETRY PRIZE
Devin Becker's Poulin Prize-winning collection investigates two types of shame: that which disgraces, and that which curbs and keeps. Set in the mundane everyday where lives maneuver around other lives, conversations are clumsy, and a co-worker is the only one without a party invite, these confessional, narrative poems humorously dramatize the socially awkward moments of life.
PRAISE FOR SHAME | SHAME
"[An] engaging first book of prose and free-verse poems. Bending to the expectation that prose narrates, he fashions miniature stories—anecdotes, jokes maybe—about not humiliation but existential embarrassment, the conviction that surely being human shouldn’t entail the feelings it does. . . . Besides prose poetry, Becker has also mastered e. e. cummings’ skinny, crawl-down-the-page poem, to similar, gotta-read-it-again effect."
"Devin Becker's Shame | Shame is a brilliant debut collection. Here, the prose poem has been re-imagined as a cinematic vignette, yet rooted as deeply in the American Northwest as anything in Richard Hugo and David Lynch. Raw, intimate, and elliptical in its metaphysics, Devin Becker's poetry captures an idiomatic recklessness while navigating those angular narratives of our contemporary lives."
—David St. John, from the Introduction
"When God was still too young to know any better, he touched 'THE VOID,' which, 'in a rush to fill the space His finger left, / ...sent out a universe in ripples.' It shamed God that He'd disturbed perfection. He needed a toy. What He came up with (and then discarded to us) was the world Devin Becker evokes in these uncommonly intimate pages. If there are items in Becker's life too small or humbling to elude his gift for turning them into irresistible news, not one of them has slipped past him into the graces of this, his first (extremely welcome) book."
"Devin Becker has written a drop-dead funny book about desolation, isolation, self-punishment, and shame. Only one for whom humor is a necessity really understands humor. Jokes can be a means of survival and almost redemptive if they make inchoate private suffering communal through its expression, and, like poems, the vitality of jokes depends on rhetorical skill, emotional authenticity, luminous intelligence, and impeccable timing—all characteristics of Devin Becker's writing that makes it so engaging and moving and exhilarating."