cover image The Education of a Young Poet

The Education of a Young Poet

David Biespiel. Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $26 (208p) ISBN 978-1-61902-993-4

In his beguiling voice, Biespiel (A Long, High Whistle) guides readers through his coming-of-age as a poet, narrating his journey from a childhood and youth in Houston to college days in Boston and his early postcollege experiences on a Vermont farm. Biespiel became fascinated with language early in life, but it was in his high school Latin class that he really discovered the beauty and mystery of words. In 1984, he joined an amateur diving team for a couple of years, and he compares writing poetry to diving: “When it’s going well you don’t worry if you’re OK or if you’re breathing.... Your chest lifts, your nostrils inhale, your eyes narrow toward a threshold ahead as you keep up your typing.” Biespiel shows himself to be exhilarated as much by failure as by success in writing; his poetry reveals aspects of his inner world to him and shows him how to live better. Biespiel’s supple memoir of becoming a poet will surely inspire other writers to embrace the bodily character of writing and feel the power and, sometimes, the emptiness of the act of writing poetry. [em](Oct.) [/em]