Conditioned Response is Gary Beck's 11th published chapbook. This 100 page book of poetry focuses on contemporary issues such as drug use, terrorism, overpopulation and pollution. These poems are balanced by those about nature, including the weather.
The language is straightforward and tends toward the prosaic - indeed it is difficult to be lyrical about war and similar issues of import in today's society.
The narrator in Northern Mariners thinks back on his family's relationship with the frozen northern oceans and muses:
"I will be the first
not to fear the ice,
thanks to global warming."
Amongst the nature poems I was most struck by the story in Brief Freedom, which focuses on the relationship between Mr Fozzy Pate, a pet finch and the wild finches living nearby
"One spring morning
wild finches sang nearby
and Mr fuzzy pate
burst into joyous song".
This is a serious book dealing with serious issues, which makes it perhaps a bit unusual among contemporary poetry, much of which tends to shy away from issues.
Conditioned Response by Gary Beck is available here.