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About this poet

Beckian Fritz Goldberg was born in 1954 and grew up in Arizona. She received an MFA from Vermont College in 1985, and her first book, Body Betrayer (Cleveland State University Poetry Series), was published in 1991.

She is the author of several poetry collections, including Egypt from Space (Oberlin College Press, 2013); Reliquary Fever: New and Selected Poems (New Issues, 2010); Never Be the Horse (University of Akron Press, 1999), winner of the 1999 Akron Poetry Prize; and In the Badlands of Desire (Cleveland State University Poetry Series, 1993).

In a review of In the Badlands of Desire for the LA Review of Books, Lisa Russ Spaar writes, “I am grateful for the ways in which her work in Badlands and beyond has remained preoccupied with the slippages of tale, myth, fable, and story.” Goldberg’s work is known for its striking, often surreal imagery, and she cites Jean Valentine, Michael Burkard, and Charles Wright as major influences. She teaches in the MFA program at Arizona State University.


Selected Bibliography

Egypt from Space (Oberlin College Press, 2013)
Reliquary Fever: New and Selected Poems (New Issues, 2010)
Never Be the Horse (University of Akron Press, 1999)
In the Badlands of Desire (Cleveland State University Poetry Series, 1993)
Body Betrayer (Cleveland State University Poetry Series, 1991)

Back

The god of the back
must be a lonely god,
god in the shape of man-headed hawk.

Long ago
a man had been sailing the river
and the hawk had been flying beside him 
for days. Mornings,

the man would wake and look,
yes, there it was, dark tip-to-tip, the hawk.
His hawk, he began to think of it.
And after a time

he forgot the point of the journey, 
he only woke each morning to see
if the hawk was there, to move if the hawk
moved with him, to not rest

if the hawk did not rest.  And all of this love
was done in silence, between animal
and animal.  There

beside him in the air and there
beside him in the water, the yoke
of the hawk.  Once he had a family.  Once
he had a city to go to and something

to bring back.  More and more 
he began to see his life
as a story the hawk was telling

holding the rat of the field in its claw, meaning
There is another world
and I will take you in it. 
This

is when he became the god,
god of the back, the beautiful
brow of leaving.

"Back" by Beckian Fritz Goldberg from Lie Awake Lake, Oberlin College Press, © 2005. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

"Back" by Beckian Fritz Goldberg from Lie Awake Lake, Oberlin College Press, © 2005. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Beckian Fritz Goldberg

Beckian Fritz Goldberg is the author of Egypt from Space (Oberlin College Press, 2013) and several other poetry collections. She lives in Arizona.